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02 | 2017| 78538

Photo: Pacifico Energy

Photo: Hannover Messe

Photo: Nest
Markets & Trends Applications & Installations Storage & Smart Grids
Japan outlook: With FIT cuts and Integrated Energy Plaza: Examining Smart homes: As the smart home
other policy upheavals, can Japanese PVs role in an integrated energy market begins to consolidate, what
solar stay the course? Page 18 system at Hannover Messe. Page 46 lies in store for consumers? Page 68

photovolta ic markets & technology

Photo: SEIA

New era for US solar

Exclusive interview with incoming SEIA President
and CEO, Abigail Hopper. Page 56
/ Perfect Welding / Solar Energy / Perfect Charging



/ We believe in a future where humankind covers 100% of our energy requirements from renewab-
YEARS le sources: a world of 24 hours of sun. Solar energy plays a key role in this world - both day and
FRONIUS night, summer and winter. This future is already fast approaching as more and more people are
SOLAR converting to solar. To drive this major change forward we are developing technologies that help
ENERGY make solar the cornerstone of our future energy systems. Visit www.fronius.com/solarenergy
From the Editor
Photo: Andrea Jeremias/pv magazine

Photo: Abby Wilcox/pv magazine

pvmagazine Senior Editor Ian Clover discussing the Japanese solar market pvmagazine Americas Editor Christian Roselund at the Intersolar North
with Heraeus at last years PV Expo in Tokyo. America 2016 trade show with author John Perlin.

From the top New faces and new places

Buffeted by demagoguery, populism has become a dirty The last few months have not failed to be interesting. But just
word in recent months. But if we hack away at its modern as the United States is under new leadership (if that word
(mis)interpretation, the notion of what populism actually can accurately be used), so is the U.S. solar industry, and this
means addressing the concerns of ordinary people tallies month we bring you an interview with the freshly appointed
quite nicely with solar PV. head of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), Abi-
gail Hopper (p.56). As we reported in our online coverage,
For it is becoming increasingly populist to combat climate Hopper joins five other women as leaders of major U.S. solar
change, nowhere more so than in China, where the dam- organizations, showing that the industry is making good on
age caused by fossil fuels hangs heavy in the air. Despite the its promises of gender diversity, at least at the top.
nations solar surge in 2016, pvmagazine Managing Director
Eckhart K. Gouras discovered on his latest trip to Beijing, a It was interesting to me to hear Hoppers careful statements
city still tackling air pollution (p.26). However, the situation about working with a president whose energy policy ideas
has improved somewhat since his 2015 visit, and across this would be considered out-of-date in the days of Harry Tru-
vast nation solars positive influence is being felt. man. However, what is more interesting to many of us in the
solar industry is to hear SEIAs plans for more engagement in
Fossil fuels fug is also clearing in India, where economic and the critical state-level policy battles, where the organization
environmental pressures are leaving the Modi administration has long had less of a presence.
with little choice but to build upon superb solar growth. The
famous National Solar Mission continues to prove transfor- But try not to get too distracted by the drama in the U.S.,
mative, and having seen installation figures double in 2016 to because that is not where all the action is. This month we
4GW, Mercom Capitals Raj Prabhu expects more than 9GW bring you a special feature on Central America (p.22), where
to be installed in 2017 (p.30). Honduras recently became the (non-island) nation with
the highest portion of annual electricity from solar at 10.2%
At 9GW of new solar capacity, India will leapfrog Japan to in 2016. This is just the beginning, as several nations in the
become the worlds third-largest solar market in 2017. But this region are holding auctions that are expected to bring several
does not mean that Japanese ambitions are dead and bur- hundred megawatts of additional projects online this year
ied. Far from it a fall from 8.7GW last year to 8.4GW this alone.
year is the mildest of contractions, and means the globe can
now boast four bona fide mega-markets. Japan plays host next The march of technology also continues. This month we bring
month to PV Expo Tokyo, which is traditionally the first big you an interview with thin film technology providers Von
solar show of the event calendar (p.18). However, its early- Ardenne (p.62), as well as a feature on the future of cell con-
year thunder is being shared by Abu Dhabi, which in January cepts by Gtz Fischbeck (p.58).
hosted another excellent World Future Energy Summit that
once again served to shine a spotlight on the Middle Easts For the U.S. solar industry and for all of us, there is much
steady solar progress (p.36). Its all here in this issue! work to be done.

Ian Clover Christian Roselund

Senior Editor Americas Editor

02/2017 |www.pv-magazine.com 1

Photo: Pacifico Energy

Photo: Hannover Messe

18 Japanese market 46 Hannover Messe
Some major policy changes look set Benjamin Low, the German trade
to shake up solar PV in Japan this fairs Director shares his vision for
year. 2017s event, where pv magazine
will exhibit alongside some of our
industry partners.

Contents 02/2017
Markets & Trends Applications & Installations

6 News Hannover Messe: Benjamin Low,

Stock index: Solar stocks rising.
10  the Trade Shows Global Director
pvXchange module price index:
12  talks about 2017s event.
Module prices are falling steadily. Guy Rong interview: Arctech
Mints column: Can U.S. PV stay
14  Solars CEO talks growth in the
strong with reduced policy support? tracker market.
PV without the politics: Becquerel
Institutes Gatan Masson discusses
the PV industrys future.
Japanese market: a look at the
upcoming year, ahead of PV Expo.
Breaking new ground: The solar
boom in Central America.
Beijing to Shenzhen: Eckhart K.
Gouras visits China at the end of
countrys biggest ever year for PV.
A crucial year for solar: Mercom
Capitals Raj Prabhu goes into detail
on Indias market.
Building big in MENA: Both
Saudi Arabia and the UAE have
announced big new energy plans.
Dutch opportunities: A latecomer
to PV, the Netherlands is growing.
The California of Europe?: A new
study outlines the potential for solar
in the South of France.

2 02/2017 |www.pv-magazine.com

Photo: SunPower

Photo: Nest
56 SEIA interview 68 Last chance for energy companies
Newly appointed Solar Energy Industries Association President & CEO Tech giants, telecoms companies,
Abigail Hopper catches up with pv magazine to discuss solar policy and and retailers are moving in on smart
advocacy at both state and federal level in the U.S. homes. Time could be running out
for energy companies to get in on
this growing market.

Industry & Suppliers Storage & Smart Grids

Multi-Contact: Stubli Group

50  Last chance for energy companies:
takes over the brand of the electrical Delta-ees Arthur Jouannic looks at
connector supplier. the developing smart home market.
52 Bows to the string: What are the Storage in Australia: Distributed
advantages of string inverters at storage is hotting up Down Under.
utility scale? Senec interview: The German com-
56 Abigail Hopper interview: Solar panys MD discusses their entry into
Energy Industry Associations the Australian storage market.
new CEO talks strategy.
58  What comes after PERC?: Smart Service
Solar Solutions Gtz Fischbeck on
new innovations in module tech. 74 R&D news
62 Von Ardenne interview: Kristin 76 On the road with pv magazine
Ldemann, VP of crystalline PV, 78 Advertisement overview
on the future of HJT technology. 80 Preview and imprint
64 Module workshop: Analysis
from Gtz Fischbeck on TV
R heinlands exhaustive module
performance study.

4 02/2017 |www.pv-magazine.com

Conflicting votes on solar trade duties by EU trade committee

Two important votes on the antidumping The trade measures had been up for Yesterday there were two votes one on
and anti-subsidy measures against solar review within the EC, which has put anti-subsidy and one on antidumping,
cell and module imports from China took forth a proposal to update and extend the said Watson. The anti-subsidy vote
place in the Anti-Dumping and Anti- duties for two years. Within the proposal, resulted in 14oppositions from Member
Subsidy Committee of the EU yester- an 11% duty would be included as an anti- States, 15 would have been needed to trig-
day. The committee voted to approve the subsidy measure, and a 36% duty as an ger the appeal. On antidumping 18states
proposed extension of anti-subsidy mea- antidumping measure, while the MIP has opposed the measures, five abstained
sures, but voted to oppose the extension been reduced by 20%. It also includes an and five voted in favour. The proposal of
of the antidumping measures. interim review, which is likely to lead to the Commission has thus been rejected
The trade measures were originally a gradual reduction in the duties. and is now subject to an appeal process
applied in December 2013, as a means of We are confident our proposal pres- where the Commission will be expected
protecting Europes solar industry, how- ents a balanced way to protect EU solar to revise their approach before another
vote from the Member States. This will
take place in the next four weeks.
Photo: Sbastien Bertrand

This is the first time that this appeal pro-

cess has been triggered for an EC pro-
posal, which adds some historical sig-
nificance to the vote. However, the
anti-subsidy duty extension is now out
of the hands of the Member States, and
likely to be adopted by the EC.
We have campaigned for the end of these
trade measures for the last 18 months,
and are pleased that the Member States
have sent a strong rebuke to DG [Direc-
torate General for] Trade for not taking
into account the interests of the Euro-
pean solar industry, commented Solar-
Power Europe President Oliver Schaefer.
It is important to note, however, that
while SolarPower Europe has been the
chief proponent of removing the duties,
other voices within the European solar
industry have been strongly in favor of
ever, some within the industry feel that cell and module producers from unfair keeping them, particularly EU ProSun.
the measures are counterproductive, and trading practices, while taking into This alternative solar association believes
are actually hindering the growth of the account the interests of users, upstream that the measures have been adjusted
solar industry within Europe. and downstream companies in the solar effectively, and fully expects the new pro-
A minimum import price (MIP) agree- value chain, a European Commission posal to be implemented.
ment was also set up, for Chinese com- source told pvmagazine. Therefore, we In the EU, eight member states are
panies to avoid duties if they sold prod- proposed to extend the measures for two home to significant solar manufactur-
ucts at a minimum price. However, price years, instead of the usual period of five ing, while others arent and may believe
declines have made the MIP look some- years. it opportune not to openly stand against
what out of touch, resulting in the major- China, said EU ProSun President Milan
ity of Chinese manufacturing heavy- Twovotes, twodifferent outcomes Nitzschke. However, were convinced
weights opting out of the agreement. The meeting between a committee of EU that an extension of the antidumping
trade experts was to have two non-bind- measures will be determined during the
ing votes, which could either approve next weeks.
Correction the proposal, or force it to an appeal. A The minimum import price has just
source within the European Commission been reduced by almost 20%, solar sys-
In our December 2016 edition, in the article Solar confirmed that the committee voted to tems and PV in Europe today are as cheap
vehicles take to the asphalt we stated that Asola
approve the proposed extension of the as never before, added Nitzschke. This
Advanced and Automotive Solar Systems were
manufacturers of a solar panel for the Karma
anti-subsidy measures, but that a final new, great technology pays for nearly
Revero vehicle. The system was in fact produced decision was not reached on antidump- everywhere in the EU. To leave this tech-
by a2-solar Advanced and Automotive Solar Sys- ing measures. nology completely open to Chinese com-
tems, which has now taken over the Asola Brand. SolarPower Europe CEO James Watson panies, which operate state financed
offered pvmagazine further explanation. dumping, would be fatal.

6 02/2017 |www.pv-magazine.com
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La Reunion

Our customers dream was to find the

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Nidec ASI acted as EPC contractor, supplying a

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Artist rendering of PV panels on hatchery

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Nidec ASI, turning dreams into results.

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pvmagazine news roundup

The most important solar stories and eye-catching headlines from the past four weeks

Solar provides 4.3% of Japans electricity during 2016 behind Chile, where more than 1GW of PV has been installed.
The latest data show solar taking an increasing role in Japans Public company ENEE, whose electric system covers practi-
energy mix, however several provinces are nearing caps on PV cally all of Honduras, reports that last year its plants added
capacity eligible for reimbursement for curtailed power. 8,673GWh of generation that was purchased privately. Of that,
Japans Renewable Energy Institute has published data on 885GWh corresponded to PV plants. Overall, renewable energy
renewable energys contribution to the nations energy mix, accounted for 52% of the Honduran power grid.
using data from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry Last year, solar made up close to 5% of the electricity mix
(METI). The METI data show solar PV rising to 4.3% of electric- in Honduras. In 2015, 388MW were installed, and last year
ity production over the course of 2016, a dramatic increase from another 45megawatts of photovoltaic power were added.
2015, when PV represented only 2.7% of production.
The effect was particularly noticeable in the last two quarters, Marubeni to develop worlds largest PV plant in UAE,
when PV represented 5.0% and 6.0% of electricity generation, according to reports
respectively. Japanese conglomerate Marubeni is planning to build a 1.18GW
Together, all renewable energy sources together represented PV plant, the largest in the world, in the United Arab Emir-
14.2% of production during 2016, but hydroelectric power is ates, with support from JinkoSolar and the Abu Dhabi Water &
the majority of this. Japan has limited deployment of biomass, Electricity Authority, according to Japanese newspaper Nikkei.

Photo: Siemens
wind and geothermal, which makes up the final few percent. Not known to do things in halves, the UAE looks set to give the
Japan has implemented a system whereby the amount of PV all-clear for another mega solar project, as reports from Japan
that will be compensated under the feed-in tariff for more than claim that local company Marubeni is planning a huge 1.18GW
30days of curtailment per year is capped at the regional level, plant in the country. It is not clear at what stage of planning the
and Hokkaido, Kyushu, Okinawa, and Shikoku are nearing project is at, or what licensees have so far been achieved, but if
those caps. Hokkaido is the closest, with 1,059MW of solar reports are accurate, it would be the largest solar plant on earth.
deployed under a cap of 1,170 MW, but the more populous The plant is set to be developed on a 7.8km2 plot in the des-
Kyushu region in the south is also only 1.45GW away from its ert in eastern Abu Dhabi, and would be built using JinkoSo-
cap of 8.17GW. lar modules. This might be due to the reported financial assis-
tance of Jinko on the project, who is said to be accounting for
Honduras is the first nation with 10% solar in its 20% of the financing.
electricity mix The Abu Dhabi Water & Electricity Authority is said to be put-
Honduran state power company ENEE reported that the 10.2% ting up 60% of the financing and Marubeni the final 20%, with
of the generation in the countrys electrical system corre- total investment expected to be in the region of JPY 100billion
sponded to the total generation of PV power plants in 2016. ($868million).
This places Honduras as the first non-island nation to achieve The deal for the plant is expected to be signed next week, when
a 10% share of solar energy in its national electricity mix. we may see an official announcement from Marubeni regarding
Honduras also tops the charts as the country with the most PV the plant. Current reports claim that the electricity will be sold
capacity in Central America, with 433MW of solar installed on a 25 year power purchase agreement, with the plant expected
by the end of 2016, and is second in the whole of Latin America to enter operation in 2019.

8 02/2017 |www.pv-magazine.com

Eos Energy Storage & Siemens launch storage Since the worlds worst nuclear disaster in 1986, 2,600square
partnership kilometers of forest and marshland around the Chernobyl reac-
Eos and Siemens have jointly produced an energy storage sys- tors has been marked as exclusion zone due to high levels of
tem that includes AC conversion. The design enables modu- radiation. In 2016 the Ukrainian government announced the
lar installation, which Eos says will reduce maintenance costs plan to turn the Chernobyl wasteland into a 1GW solar farm.
throughout the products lifetime.
Working with Siemens is an exciting step for us and the energy SMA claims over 25% of the Indian inverter market in
storage industry, says Eos CEO Michael Oster. By combining 2016
Eos cost and performance advantage with Siemens capabili- German PV inverter supplier SMA Solar Technology shipped
ties in system integration and project execution, we are able to over 1GW of solar inverters to the Indian utility-scale PV mar-
offer solutions that set a new benchmark for energy storage reli- ket in 2016, which accounted for 26% of the entire market, of
ability and effectiveness. which SMA is the second-largest inverter supplier.
The product is based on Eos Aurora range of batteries offering SMA is not regretting its gamble on the Indian solar market
14MWh of DC storage with a guarantee supporting up to back in 2010, as it is now the second biggest supplier of inverters
20years continual operation. Siemens is providing additional to the countrys thriving PV market. The company is enjoying
technology to support and integrate the batteries. its position, and expects to grow within the market, although
Photo: SMA

Photo: Julien Lavalle/Flickr

Our goal is to standardize energy storage products with focus other major inverter suppliers are also eyeing expansion into
on reliability and return on investment, said Siemens VP Brian the country.
Dula. By offering a solution with supporting services, Siemens The statistic coming from the German company today is that
will help customers realize the full benefits of the Eos Aurora it supplied over 1GW of solar to utility-scale projects in India
Battery. in 2016. This activity was supported by the companys sales and
service subsidiary that it opened up in India in 2010, which
Ukraine: 39groups apply to build solar plants in enables the company to offer a whole range of inverters and
Chernobyl wasteland various products onto the market.
According to the Ukrainian Minister for Ecology and Natural SMA has nearly doubled its total installed inverter base in
Resources Ostap Semerak, Ukraines State Agency for Manag- India in 2016 alone, commented John Susa, SMA Executive
ing the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone had received 39applications Vice President Sales Asia Pacific. Among other projects, our
for the allocation of land parcels to build solar power plants in central inverters have been used to build the largest solar power
the zone as of January1, 2017. At the same time it was announced plant in India to date. This is a great success, as the Indian mar-
that the deadline for submitting bids for the 11.7square kilome- ket is of strategic importance for SMA.
ter solar PV project was extended until March1, 2017. With a 3.9GW utility-scale PV market in 2016, SMA accounts
As early as November 2016, Chinese solar firm GCL System for over one quarter. The company has said that it is strongly
Integration, a subsidiary of GCL-Poly, said in a press release committed to the market, which seems to be a good business
that it would cooperate with China National Complete Engi- decision, as it is set to double in 2017. SMA plans to take advan-
neering Corp on the project in Ukraine, as part of the groups tage of this with significant resources and a local presence in
plan to build an international presence. the country.

02/2017 |www.pv-magazine.com 9
Markets & Trends|Stock Price Index

Sweet 17
Stock index: The new year has gotten off to quite a start politically, and the stock
market has responded in kind.

Solar stocks got off to a strong start in

Graphic: pv magazine/Harald Schtt

Guggenheim Solar ETF (TAN) Holdings
the new year, with particularly encour-
aging performances seen in the U.S. mar- 10% 10%
kets. The Guggenheim Solar ETF (TAN)
gained4.3% in the month of January 2017,
compared to dropping by43.2% over the
whole of 2016. For comparison, the Dow 5% 5%
Jones gained +0.5% in January (com-
pared to +13.4% in 2016), the Standard &
Poors 500 (S&P 500) gained +1.8% (com-
pared to +9.5% in 2016), and the Russell
0% 0%
2000 gained +0.3% (compared to +19.5%
in 2016).
The broader United States market has
seen stocks rally following President
5% S&P 500 5%
Donald Trumps powerful assurances
Russell 2000
that he is planning to work on restor-
Guggenheim Solar ETF
ing the countrys economy and man-
Source: Roth Capital
ufacturing industries. On January 25,
mere days after Trump moved into the 10% 10%
White House, the Dow Jones hit its all- January 1, 2017 January 8, 2017 January 15, 2017 January 22, 2017 January 29, 2017
time high, closing above 20,000 for the
first time in its entire history. Month close price % change % change
Company Ticker (Jan 31, 2017) (Jan 131, 2017) year to date
Two of the top eight largest gains in
January came from solar equipment SolarWorld AG XTRA:SWVK 4.04 EUR + 66.0% + 66.0%
manufacturers. The solar energy indus- Enphase Energy, Inc. NasdaqGM:ENPH 1.49 USD + 47.5% + 47.5%
try has seen several large production tool Amtech Systems, Inc. NasdaqGS:ASYS 5.40 USD + 27.1% + 27.1%
order announcements recently, poten- Daqo New Energy Corp. NYSE:DQ 24.42 USD + 26.5% + 26.5%
tially pointing to a rebound in capital Vivint Solar, Inc. NYSE:VSLR 3.05 USD + 19.6% + 19.6%
expenditure spending in the solar indus- Sino-American Silicon Products GTSM:5483 39.80 TWD + 19.2% + 19.2%
try, despite the continuing overcapacity Meyer Burger Technology AG SWX:MBTN 0.79 CHF + 17.9% + 17.9%
coming from China. Wacker Chemie AG XTRA:WCH 111.60 EUR + 12.9% + 12.9%
In the month of January 2017, five of REC Silicon ASA OB:REC 1.29 NOK + 12.7% + 12.7%
the eight most significant declines in the TerraForm Global, Inc. NasdaqGS:GLBL 4.40 USD + 11.4% + 11.4%
solar sector came from Chinese PV mod- Atlantica Yield plc NasdaqGS:ABY 21.40 USD + 10.6% + 10.6%
ule manufacturers. The solar industry in AU Optronics Corp. TSEC:2409 12.90 TWD + 9.3% + 9.3%
China continues to be constrained by GCL-Poly Energy Hold. Ltd. SEHK:3800 1.01 HKD + 8.6% + 8.6%
massive overcapacity, as we see several E-Ton Solar Tech Co., Ltd. GTSM:3452 9.83 TWD + 7.7% + 7.7%
production facility expansions in south- Trina Solar Ltd. NYSE:TSL 9.99 USD + 7.4% + 7.4%
east Asia and a significant drop in domes- Xinyi Solar Hold. Ltd. SEHK:968 2.69 HKD + 6.7% + 6.7%
tic solar PV demand in the second half of Gintech Energy Corporation TSEC:3514 20.65 TWD + 6.7% + 6.7%
2016, following the cut to the feed-in tar- Green Energy Technology Inc. TSEC:3519 17.15 TWD + 6.5% + 6.5%
iff, which took effect at the end of June Neo Solar Power Corporation TSEC:3576 15.95 TWD + 5.6% + 5.6%
2016. Motech Industries, Inc. GTSM:6244 29.85 TWD + 5.5% + 5.5%
According to Chinas National Energy SolarEdge Technologies, Inc. NasdaqGS:SEDG 12.95 USD + 4.4% + 4.4%
Administration (NEA), the country 8point3 Energy Partners LP NasdaqGS:CAFD 13.54 USD + 4.3% + 4.3%
installed approximately 34.2 GW of China Singyes Solar Technologies Hold. Ltd. SEHK:750 3.79 HKD + 2.4% + 2.4%
solar PV in 2016, around two thirds of Shunfeng International Clean Energy Ltd. SEHK:1165 0.50 HKD + 2.1% + 2.1%
which was installed in the first half of the Yingli Green Energy Holding Company Ltd. NYSE:YGE 2.65 USD + 1.9% + 1.9%
year. S Information upon which this material has been compiled by pv magazine and is based was obtained from sources
believed to be reliable but has not been verified. Additional information is available upon request.
 Jesse Pichel, ROTH Capital Partners

10 02/2017 |www.pv-magazine.com

Intersolar Europe | Munich | May 31June 2, 2017

Intersolar North America | San Francisco | July 1113, 2017
Intersolar South America | So Paulo | August 2224, 2017
Intersolar Middle East | Dubai | September 2527, 2017
Intersolar India | Mumbai | December 57, 2017
Intersolar Summit USA East | New York | March 23, 2017

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Markets & Trends|Module Price Index

Back to
the old size
Module price index: As module prices continue their downward trajectory,
demand has seen a bit of a jump. Could 2017 be a big year for solar?

Module prices are falling steadily, and

Graphic: pv magazine/Harald Schtt

pvXchange: EU spot market module prices
the November installation figures for
Germany already show an increase of 0.80 /Wp /Wp 0.80
around 50% compared to the previous
month. While the exact figures have not
been released yet, December looks likely
to deliver similarly positive installation 0.70 0.70
results. The one gigawatt mark may be
slightly exceeded in 2016, which is most
likely thanks solely to the current drop in
prices. However, following an across-the- 0.60 0.60
board decrease in December by an aver-
age of 2% in nearly every region of ori-
gin, prices have stabilized noticeably in
January. 0.50 0.50
The jump in demand over the past few
weeks has already prompted some manu-
facturers to report their first bottlenecks
and supply problems of the year. How- 0.40 0.40
ever, they should be able to take up the Jan 16 Feb 16 Mar 16 Apr 16 May 16 Jun 16 Jul 16 Aug 16 Sep 16 Oct 16 Nov 16 Dec 16 Jan 17*
slack again in February, so customers will Crystalline modules With more than 10,000 registered trade customers,
just need to have a little bit of patience. (mono-/poly-Si) average net prices (EUR/Wp) pvXchange is one of the worlds biggest brokerage
Many orders had already been placed in Germany platforms for solar modules and inverters. Ten years
December, even though the correspond- Korea/Japan of experience in the market and the expertise of more
China than 20,000 successful business transactions are the
ing projects will not be completed until South and Southeast Asia basis for pvXchanges monthly analyses of the module
sometime in the first quarter of this year. * Data up to January 14, 2017 price developments in the European PV market.
For planning security reasons, master More information: www.pvXchange.com
agreements are once again being nego-
tiated. But because it is not entirely clear
in which direction module prices are are shaping up to be very good, because doms contribution to installed capacity
headed, flexible price clauses are increas- there is pent-up demand, particularly for will probably have little effect this year.
ingly finding their way into these agree- systems intended for German ground- What else could have a negative impact
ments some suppliers and manufac- mounted PV plant auctions. An increase on industry development? The European
turers are quite open to such practices. in the EEG feed-in tariff is also expected Commission is still clinging to its pro-
Buyers able to incorporate these clauses in February. Although some analysts are tectionist measures and its minimum
into their contracts should stipulate that still cautiously optimistic, all project a import price for Chinese modules. How-
the final price for each individual pur- noticeable increase over last years instal- ever, the level of the minimum price
chase should be dependent on the devel- lation figures. The forecasts for the year going forward is still up in the air. It may
opment of the market price relative to the ahead range from 1.4GW in Germany up be that the commissioners are simply
negotiated price at the date of the signing. to more than 2GW. It is even possible succumbing to the pressure of individ-
The reference for any price adjustments that the German government target cor- ual actors but do not even believe anyone
made should be a generally recognized ridor of 2.3 to 2.5GW could be exceeded, still cares about the measures. Chinese
photovoltaics price index. which would result in double 2016s manufacturers have long since adapted
But it is still quite difficult to pro- figure. For Europe as a whole, a solid to the situation and built up large pro-
vide a reliable forecast for the whole of increase is expected, but will likely be a duction capacities in regions outside of
2017. Overall, the prospects for this year bit more staid because the United King- China, where imports are free of punitive

12 02/2017 |www.pv-magazine.com
Module Price Index|Markets & Trends

tariffs. Only a radical tightening of the the past two or three years, the Chinese modules will initially cluster around the
policy conditions could stem the come- tier-1 manufacturers including Suntech, 0.40 mark, perhaps dropping slightly
back of Asian modules on the European Trina and several others none of which below that for high volume orders. But at
market. are currently part of the undertaking that price level, nearly any type of proj-
Punitive tariffs would have to be are piling back into the European mar- ect can be implemented economically
imposed on all products produced out- ket and offering very attractive prices. there is no longer any reason for develop-
side the European Union. But that in turn Most notable among these are Hanwha ers to hold off before starting a project.
would deal a hefty blow to some well- Q Cells, Canadian Solar, and Jinko Solar, But this will ultimately belie the claims
known European brands like IBC, REC, all of which have formulated ambitious of proponents of EU punitive measures
Luxor, Q-Cells, and even SolarWorld. We sales targets. who have denied the connection between
can, therefore, expect that the large Chi- A big downward move in prices is market price and market development,
nese manufacturers will soon come back probably not on the cards at this stage, because political conditions in Europe
to reconquer the European photovoltaics as that already happened in the pre- have not changed fundamentally since
market. After dropping off the radar for vious quarter. Prices for standard PV last year. S Martin Schachinger, pvXchange.com

Overview by technology of different price points in December 2016, including the changes over the previous month:
Module class Change over Description
(/Wp) previous month
Crystalline modules, 280Wp and above with cello-, PERC, HIT, n-type, back contact cells,
High efficiency 0.56 -5.1%
or a combination thereof
Module types with black back sheets, black frames, and a nominal capacity between
All black 0.52 0.0%
200Wp and 275Wp
Modules with usually 60 cells, standard aluminum frames, white back sheets and 250 to
Mainstream 0.44 -2.2%
275Wp represents the majority of modules on the market
Low-performance modules, factory seconds, insolvency goods, used modules
Low cost 0.28 -12.5%
(crystalline), and products with limited or no manufacturer guarantee
The prices shown reflect average asking prices for duty-paid goods on the European spot market

Markets & Trends

Photo: Dennis Schroeder/NREL

An engineer oversees installation at SunEdisons facility in Aurora, Colorado. Low bidding on PPAs could have
been a contributing factor to the companys failure.

US solar: myths and numbers or what was being counted in

the first place to arrive at those numbers.

alternative facts
When an analyst declares the accuracy
of their past forecasts this is really not a
meaningful statement.

U.S. solar momentum

Policy support: Deployment of solar PV in the U.S. for larger commercial and multi- Renewable deployment continues to rely
megawatt commercial projects is currently strong. It may continue to be strong, but on government policies, incentives, and
subsidies. The only consistent thing about
ongoing momentum is not ensured.
government policies, incentives, and
subsides is their inconsistency. Figure1
(p. 15) offers the peaks and valleys of
select markets for solar PV in Europe
During a recent interview, Press Secre- The solar industry alternative fact from 2005 through 2015.
tary Sean Spicer defended the use of the analogy President Trump wants to make signif-
phrase alternative facts as follows: The Given the wealth of differing forecasts in icant budget cuts, and the Department of
press is trying to make it seem like we the solar industry Sean Spicers statement Energys Office of Energy Efficiency and
were ignoring the facts. The facts are, about weather forecasting makes a valid Renewable Energy is on the chopping
sometimes when you look at a situa- point; that is, the future has not happened block. Should budget cut plans come to
tion, in the same way that you can look and all anyone can do is use the best tools fruition it is unlikely that federal grants
at a weather report. One weather report in their research toolkit to offer reality- and loan guarantees will be available for
comes out and says its going to be cloudy based careful scenarios of what may hap- solar projects.
and another says its going to be light pen. Unfortunately, official government During his hearing, former Texas Gov-
rain. No one lied to you; it just means you or institutional announcements about ernor and Energy Secretary Nominee
interpreted the data in a way that you felt market size have begun to take the place Rick Perry said I believe the climate is
got you to a conclusion. of careful research. As official and accu- changing. Some is naturally occurring
Translation: Spicer was referring to rate are not synonymous, it may be time and some by man-made activity. Perrys
how forecasts of the weather can differ. to return to hard research and indepen- stance on climate change is itself a change
During his monologue on the Janu- dent analysis of data to deliver forecasts from previous denials. Perry also said
ary27 show Real Time with Bill Maher, that can then be carefully explained. that he would protect scientific research
Maher said the following: Yeah, weath- Back to the weather, unfortunately, whether it was related to the climate or
ermen do sometimes disagree on what though everyone can agree on whether or other programs. Perry has also said that
the weather will be like tomorrow, but not it rained yesterday, in the solar indus- he is committed to an all of the above
not on what it was like yesterday. try no one can agree on the size of the policy.
Translation: The facts of the past can- industry in the past, nor do many explain The incoming Energy Secretary will
not be altered to fit a different viewpoint. the methodology in place to arrive at past represent an administration that denies

14 02/2017 |www.pv-magazine.com
Markets & Trends

climate change, and this is a generous

view. The Energy Secretary will have to SPV Market Research
be tough in order to hold on to programs
that the president has stated he would like Paula Mints is the Founder and Chief Market Research Analyst of the
global solar market research firm SPV Market Research. Paula began
to defund. The Energy Secretary serves
her solar market research career in 1997 with Strategies Unlimited. In
at the will of the President, and can be 2005 she joined Navigant where she continued her practice as a Direc-
dismissed by the President. In a fight of tor in Navigants Energy Practice until October 2012, when she founded
principle between the President and the SPV Market Research.
Energy Secretary, who would win? Paulas areas of expertise include: global markets and applications for
The Investment Tax Credit (ITC) solar products, cell and module cost and price analysis, system and sys-
was bipartisan. With tax reform on the tem component analysis (including inverters, trackers and other BoS
components), and trend analysis.
table the ITC could be changed or elimi-
nated entirely after, one assumes, a grace
period. Rule changes to the ITC could do
significant damage. momentum to carry it forward without port this point of view are the low prices
There are those in the U.S. who assume incentives or subsidies. The anecdotal of modules. Current low prices of mod-
that solar deployment has enough data points most often referenced to sup- ules and other components do not cover
the cost of manufacturing these mod-
ules and components, nor do they sup-
Graphics: pv magazine/Harald Schtt

Select markets in Europe 2005 through 2015

port running an entire business.
8,000 MWp Low PPA rates are also often cited as

Source: SPV Market Research

Czech Republic 10-year CARG 35% proof that the solar market in the U.S.
France 10-year CARG 64% no longer needs government support,
Germany 10-year CARG 9%
Greece 10-year CARG 62%
including the ITC. In reality, a signed
6,000 Italy 10-year CARG 32% PPA is required for financing and is
Netherlands 10-year CARG 63% often too low to support a profitable proj-
5,000 Spain 10-year CARG 8% ect. Before SunEdison failed, executives
UK 10-year CARG 100%
were working to renegotiate low PPAs.
4,000 The failure of SunEdison was an outcome
that was telegraphed by company behav-
3,000 ior years before it became a fact, and low
bidding on PPAs was certainly part of it.
2,000 This year will be a strong year for U.S.
solar PV deployment. Development for
1,000 deployment of multi-megawatt projects
began years ago. It was not derailed by
0 previous anxiety over the ITC.
2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Projects currently in the pipeline where
building has not begun could well be
US solar PV forecast through 2020 derailed if there are significant changes
to the ITC. It is worth noting that many
40,000 MWp of the same people who previously stated
Source: SPV Market Research

History and US low forecast CARG 9% 200152020 that solar deployment was dead without
US conservative forecast CARG 27% 200152020 the ITC are now saying they no longer
US accelerated forecast CARG 35% 200152020
need it.
30,000 Figure2 (to the left) offers a forecast of
U.S. solar PV deployment through 2020.
25,000 This forecast is heavily weighted by large
commercial and multi-megawatt solar
20,000 deployment. Microgrids and commu-
nity solar fall into the commercial appli-
15,000 cation. The residential application is
currently facing headwinds because of
10,000 state-by-state changes to net metering.
Currently the accelerated forecast is
5,000 business as usual for the U.S. However,
changes to the ITC and more pressure on
0 net metering could lead to the low fore-
2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 cast in 2019 and 2020. S
 Paula Mints

02/2017 |www.pv-magazine.com 15
Markets & Trends

Photo: SunPower
Solar Star power plant near Rosamond, California. PV projects in many countries now have to prove they are cost-
competitive with fossil fuels, as policy support is being withdrawn.

PV without the politics deployment is stable but has proba-

bly been beaten by PV for the first time
with regard to annual installations, bat-
tery costs are falling, and electric vehi-
Industry future: Cofounder and Director of the Becquerel Institute, Gatan Masson cles are becoming popular. In the mean-
examines PVs position in the shifting political landscape. With policy support declining time, demand for oil grew last year from
around 96 to 97million barrels per day.
in many countries, can PV find a way to escape from this corner and continue to lead
Converted into usable energy, this repre-
the transition to renewable energy? sents roughly 190TWh (with a 33% aver-
age efficiency) compared to around
100 additional TWh produced by the
We love to call ourselves revolutionaries: There are many countries where PV 75GW of PV. Together, newly added PV
We are changing the world paving the development was significantly slowed and wind plants have produced more
way for the energy revolution that will down due to strong opposition from con- energy than the increase in oil produc-
erase the ancient energy order to bring sumers afraid of rising electricity bills. tion. These are the facts, and they are as
the bright new clear one. We understand While in most cases fact-based analysis strong as PPAs granted at $0.03/kWh.
that 97% of climate researchers consider shows that solar PV systems had a rel- If we look closely at the big differences
global warming a human-made issue; atively low contribution to increasing in the market between 2015 and 2016,
we understand that decarbonization energy prices, the idea that PV is damag- the most impressive feat comes from the
requires the rapid phasing out of fossil ing the economic situation of the lower growth of the Chinese PV market, which
fuels. We understand that the LCOE of and middle class is still widespread. rose from 15to 34GW. Other established
PV has reached a record-low that makes and emerging markets shares also con-
it competitive in many places globally. De-politicizing PV tinued to increase, with around 7 GW
However, we forget or refuse to see that A significant part of the PV market is in installed.
political opponents increasingly chal- the hands of policymakers. From China Europe is the weak link in the 2016 PV
lenge our fact-based vision of a clean, to the U.S., incentives or tenders are pol- market. The end of the boom in the U.K.
green future. After years of economic cri- icy-driven. In that respect, we could confirms the weakness of the post-incen-
sis, the part of our societies that havent worry about new administrations elected tive market in Europe, even the countries
accepted such radical transformation is on a populist agenda. We believe that PV with the best conditions for prosumers
about to refuse this change, and express has reached a significant level of develop- are showing a rather low market uptake.
its concern through political vectors that ment and competitiveness that will make Italy continues to disappoint with around
were considered not so long ago as unac- its further progress guaranteed. I think 400MW installed.
ceptable. Oil exploitation and coal min- we are wrong and the emotion-based The current level of the German PV
ing are perceived as the cornerstone of politics emerging in Western countries market around 1 GW could soon
the society that should be preserved. should ring the alarm bell and push the transform France, the nuclear cham-
In many countries, opponents of PV whole PV industry to reshape itself. pion, into the European PV champion by
are complaining about the past costs of default. All in one, European countries
the first installations, finding opportun- Market facts make up less than 10% of the global PV
ist policymakers to support their angry The facts are clear: With 75GW installed market, which is more a result of poorly
fight against those who allegedly bene- last year, the situation of the PV indus- adapted policies rather than high mod-
fited outrageously from past incentives. try has never been so bright. Wind ule prices.

16 02/2017 |www.pv-magazine.com
Markets & Trends

The market grew by 25GW from 2015 with it as a potential sacrifice to their vot- The role of energy in society and its
to 2016, with China representing 19GW ers. In a world where facts are becoming economic impact will keep it at the core
of that growth and the USA the remain- less important, and where some politi- of the policy debate. We absolutely need
ing part. The remaining increase has cians are elected to preserve at all costs to de-politicize the energy transition, and
roughly been absorbed by the contrac- the existing but failing old ecosystem, we especially PV, to avoid politics hampering
tion in Europe and Japan. Market devel- should be careful with our demands and its development. PV must provide bene-
opment was driven by public policies positioning. fits to everyone; it must bring advantages
in two countries, both of which have In that respect, the current anti-anti- also to the poorest and the ones afraid of
also sent negative signs: China reduced dumping-tariffs movement might prove the energy transition. It must prove it can
its 2020 target a few months ago, from dangerous for PV in Europe. Of course, create well-paid and interesting jobs, not
150GW to 110GW (even if some local gaining full access to cheap PV modules only in services but also in industry, to
experts watered down the impact of (rather than the current constrained replace and compensate for the losses in
this announcement), that highlight the access) will accelerate competitiveness. the conventional energy industry. Under
uncertainties associated with the larg- But job losses in the remaining factories these conditions, it will become not only
est market by far. In the USA, the Trump and the negative message that PV con- the flagship of those who believe it will
administration has so far shown neg- tributes to de-industrialization, wont transform the world for the happy few but
ative signs, with an apparent willing- unlock mentalities, and will continue to a cause everyone could be willing to fight
ness to promote the fossil fuel industry. confine PV to the revolutionary corner. for. S Gatan Masson
The optimism of solar proponents who
believe that the 200,000solar employees
will outpace the 65,000miners from the About the author
coal industry shouldnt forget the cur- Gatan Masson is the Director and cofounder of the Becquerel Institute.
After more than 10years in the financial and IT sectors, he moved to the
rent tendency of the new administra-
PV industry and developed the Business Intelligence sector of the Euro-
tion to present alternative facts to sup- pean PV Industry Association (EPIA). Since 2013, he has been the Operat-
port its policies. Supporting the failing ing Agent (chairperson in IEA language) for Task1 of the PV program of
coal industry is one of them. the International Energy Agency (IEA PVPS). He is Vice-Chairperson of
As long as PV is perceived as a part the European PV technology Platform and participates in the Scientific
of the green way-of-life, it will be in the Committee of the EU-PVSEC and Intersolar Europe Conferences.
hands of senseless policymakers playing

Photo: Sakaori/Wikimedia Commons

Komekurayama Solar Power Plant, a 10MW project located in Yamanashi Prefecture. Japans utility-scale sector
has slowed down in the face of FIT cuts and curtailment issues.

Utility scale slipping

Japan Outlook: Feed-in tariff cuts and a new reverse auction system are just two
of the more significant shifts among a whole heap of policy changes set to shake up
Japanese solar over the coming year. As the countrys biggest solar trade show PV
Expo Japan approaches once again, pvmagazine takes a look at whats in store for
solar in the country.

The reduction of Japans feed-in tariff projects are only part of a broader series Statistics from the International Renew-
(FIT) for solar from the start of the next of reforms announced that will pro- able Energy Agency (IRENA) show that
fiscal year in April, as well as the intro- foundly reshape Japanese solar develop- Japans cumulative solar installations
duction of a reverse auction system for ment in the years to come. hit approximately 33.3GW at the end of
utility-scale projects, are among the The Ministry of Economy, Trade and 2015, suggesting that roughly 50GW of
most anticipated changes in store for the Industry (METI) has approved roughly approved capacity remains unbuilt.
countrys PV market in 2017. Planned tar- 80GW of PV capacity since the intro- The realization rate is low for large-
iff cuts and a new bidding system for big duction of the FIT system in July 2012. scale projects, says IHS senior solar

18 02/2017 |www.pv-magazine.com

analyst Susanne von Aichberger. The Another key amendment to the FIT Von Aichberger and other industry
government has therefore implemented that will facilitate completion is that players are reluctant to speculate on how
several legal changes to the FIT program developers will be able to reduce the sizes much Tokyo will lower the FIT, which
aimed at reducing the share of projects of their unfinished projects by as much as is currently set at JPY 24/kWh ($0.21)
that have been put on hold. 20% without losing their locked-in FIT for projects above 10 kW in size and
rates. This is important because many JPY 3133/kWh ($0.29) for systems below
Significant change projects in the early years of Japans FIT 10kW in size. However, media reports
One of the most significant changes is a regimes were approved before adequate that surfaced in mid-December suggest
new rule requiring developers that failed land surveys were conducted. By allow- that the authorities plan to completely
to sign grid-connection agreements ing holders of those approvals to scale eliminate the solar FIT in gradual stages
by the end of July 2016 to finish their back their plans to correspond with the by 2020.
approved projects within three years space limitations of their planned con- Beyond the declining FIT, a num-
from the start of the next fiscal year on struction sites, METI will make it easier ber of other factors have been weigh-
April1, 2017. for numerous stalled projects to be com- ing on growth at the utility-scale since
It remains to be seen how METI will
deal with projects if they are not com-

Photo: Pacifico Energy

pleted on time. However, its likely that
the ministry will scale down the FIT rates
granted to such developers by a certain
percentage for each year their projects
remain uncompleted beyond April 1,
2020. METI may also simply decide to
shorten the FIT periods for such instal-
lations from the usual 20years, according
to international law firm Baker McKen-
zie. The three year rule is likely to have a
major impact on the feasibility and bank-
ability of many approved solar projects,
the law firm said in a research note pub-
lished earlier this year.
However, other amendments to Japans
FIT legislation will ensure that some of
the 50GW of METI-approved capacity
that remains unbuilt will be finished in
the year ahead. In particular, one change
that could facilitate the completion of Hosoe, a 96.2MW plant currently under construction in Miyazaki Prefecture. Pacifico Energy says that
stalled projects is the elimination of a while few projects will be completed in 2017, both 2018 and 2019 will be much bigger years.
rule that has prevented developers from
changing PV module suppliers after pleted. We are ultimately predicting a last year. Suitable sites on which to build
their projects have been approved by the scale of 20-30GW (of the unbuilt 50GW) large projects are becoming increasingly
ministry. to actually come into operation, says a scarce. And the spectre of unlimited cur-
However, CIS solar specialist Solar Solar Frontier spokesperson. tailment a right granted to utilities in
Frontier which expects Japan to account early 2015, after Kyushu Electric and
for around 65% of the 950MW of solar Financing issues other power companies began temporar-
panels it will ship throughout the world Taken together, these changes to the FIT ily denying grid access to solar develop-
in 2017 sees an opportunity in the relax- law which the government will enact ers on claims of network instability has
ation of this rule, which has been one of from the start of the next fiscal year in made it increasingly difficult to finance
several factors contributing to project April 2017 could significantly reshape big projects.
delays. Japans utility-scale solar market in the We think the actual curtailment risk
A company spokesperson, however, years to come. The existing pipeline will is very low, but [we] dont want to deal
does acknowledge that as much as half be reduced after March31, 2017, says von with trying to finance those projects with
of the 50 GW of projects that are cur- Aichberger at IHS. unlimited curtailment risk, says Nate
rently sitting in a so-called holding pat- The research firm expects Japan to Franklin, Country Manager for Pacifico
tern will go unrealized. The Tokyo- announce 8.7GW of PV installed in 2016, Energy. We avoid areas/utilities sub-
based manufacturer plans to leverage and then 8.4GW over the next 12months, ject to unlimited curtailment. We think
its relationships with companies such as which is considerably lower than the theyre too hard to finance.
Japan Renewable Energy (JRE) to provide 13.2-14.3 GW forecast that Bloomberg Due to the decline of the FIT rate in
its thin film PV modules to developers New Energy Finance (BNEF) issued last recent years, the Tokyo-based company
that will start looking to change suppli- February and down from about 10GW of also does not consider building any proj-
ers in 2017. new capacity additions in 2015. ects that are below 50MW in size.

02/2017 |www.pv-magazine.com 19

Solar Frontier also agrees that the grad-

Photo: Kyocera

ual shift to self-consumption will push

innovation: The key to winning in these
difficult conditions is to focus on the mar-
kets in which we can differentiate our-
selves by pursuing added-value solutions
based on CIS technology, says a spokes-
person for the Tokyo-based company.
But even at utility scale, the Showa
Shell Sekiyu subsidiary remains opti-
mistic that it can compete in the face of
declining installations, as it feels that
METIs revisions to the FIT policy are
aligned with the natural maturation of
the solar market.
Central to the revisions is the estab-
lishment of a mid-term price target, a
multi-year price setting, a top runner sys-
tem, and the introduction of an auction
system, a spokesperson says, adding that
A rooftop array featuring Kyocera modules. The company says that Japans trend for self consumption is large-scale projects accounted for 70% of
opening up new areas in which to innovate. its PV module shipments in Japan in 2016.
From the perspective of improving
The developer which completed New opportunities economic predictability and of pushing
nearly 132 MW at three sites over the While the importance of the utility- to reduce manufacturers costs and pro-
past year does not expect to finish any scale market is fading, other long-antic- moting innovation, we support the revi-
projects in 2017. However, while Frank- ipated opportunities will start to open sion we will be able to adjust smoothly.
lin acknowledges that the utility-scale up in 2017. For example, project owners
opportunity in Japan is shrinking, he are now required to demonstrate compli- Industry trends
remains optimistic about the upcoming ance with new operation & maintenance With the growth of Japans utility-scale
launch of the new reverse auction system. (O&M) requirements. And companies PV sector in decline, much of the inno-
We still see opportunities for large- such as Kyocera which currently ser- vation in 2017 could play out in terms
scale projects, he says, noting that vices 280MW of PV throughout Japan of how projects are financed. In 2016,
METI appears set to auction off as much plan to expand their focus on the grow- for example, property developer Takara
as 1.5GW of utility-scale capacity in the ing O&M business in the years to come. Leben turned heads by giving investors
upcoming fiscal year. We plan to partic- The Kyoto-based group is also increas- access to revenues from an aggregated
ipate in those auctions. He also says that ingly focusing on installing industrial- portfolio of its solar plants.
2018 and 2019 when Pacifico Energy use arrays it has several in develop- The JPY 8.7billion ($765million) offer-
expects to finish a 96.2 MW array in ment at the moment in response to ing Japans first listed infrastructure
Miyazaki Prefecture will be big years the fading importance of utility-scale fund sparked a flurry of excitement
for completed projects. build-out. We will continue to steadily when it was launched. Other compa-
But with less capacity set to come implement such projects, says a Kyocera nies quickly followed suit, with prop-
online in the years ahead, its also possi- spokesperson. erty developer Ichigo Green Infrastruc-
ble that Japans major utilities will grad- The company also sees a range of new ture Fund Investment listing a similarly
ually become less resistant to accept- opportunities in the increasing focus solar-focused fund in December.
ing more variable renewables into their on self-consumption of solar-generated Expect more public offerings such
service areas. That could open up more electricity, which is intensifying with as Ichigo and Takara Leben, says Nate
opportunities to install batteries, as stor- the growth of the residential PV market, Franklin, Country Manager for Tokyo-
age solutions have barely been deployed despite expectations that the government based developer Pacifico Energy, add-
at the utility-scale in Japan thus far, aside will cut the FIT rate for small rooftop sys- ing that he expects more private funds
from a handful of state-linked demon- tems in the upcoming fiscal year. to start making acquisitions in Japans
stration projects. It is expected that tariffs will fall below nascent secondary market for opera-
We would love to see utilities offer the electricity rate in the near future, with tional PV assets. Costs of capital should
limited curtailment in exchange for the market shifting from the conven- come down as the secondary market
doing storage [it] could really help the tional style of selling generated electric- develops.
market to develop, Franklin says. But ity to implementing solar power genera- Beyond financing, industry players
now there is no contractual benefit to tion for self consumption, the company are tight lipped about the technological
doing so, as unlimited curtailment still says, noting that this shift will present developments that they have in store. At
applies, though the actual risk could be more opportunities to deploy storage at utility scale, Franklin expects developers
mitigated. the residential level in the years ahead. to start installing more 1500 V inverters.

20 02/2017 |www.pv-magazine.com

On the module side, Kyocera says the growing focus on the
self-consumption of PV-generated electricity in the residential
market driven in large part by the governments Zero Energy
House (ZEH) policy is opening up new areas in which to inno-
vate in terms of cell efficiency, storage and cost reductions.
In a market based on self-consumption, we believe that long-
term reliability will become a stronger selling point for solar
modules, a company spokesperson says.
Kyocera is targeting households with its Rooflex solar pan-
els, which it began offering in 2016 in seven shapes and sizes
tailored to the configurations of standard Japanese rooftops.
It also plans to start selling a new Home Energy Management
System (HEMS) in 2017.
Thin film PV specialist Solar Frontier agrees that the gradual
shift to self-consumption will push suppliers to innovate, not-
ing that their unique value proposition is through adding value
with their CIS technology, according to a spokesperson for the
Tokyo-based company.
In mid-December, the Showa Shell Sekiyu subsidiary
announced plans to target the residential rooftop market its
main focus in 2017 with its new SmaCIS panels, which will
also come in several shapes and sizes. It will start producing
the modules, which will be specially designed for quick instal-
lation on Japanese homes, at its 900MW factory in Miyazaki
Prefecture from April 2017.
And in 2018, Solar Frontier plans to start producing new
The Most Powerful Solar
bendable panels for factory rooftops. This next generation Exhibition and Conference
product is perfectly suited due to its lightweight nature and the in the MENA Region
level of freedom in how it can be installed, a spokesperson says.
At the utility scale, the growing importance of self-consump-
Dubai World Trade Centre, UAE
tion is also driving companies to develop virtual power plant
(VPP) projects, in which distributed renewable-energy instal- Be in the forefront of 120+
lations are aggregated to operate as single, large power plants. international exhibitors
Last July, a consortium of 14companies led by regional util- Show your product innovations
ity Kansai Electric Power announced plans to jointly develop a to 5,000+ solar enthusiasts
state-subsidized VPP pilot in cooperation with the Agency for Receive latest policy-updates and
Natural Resources and Energy (ANRE), an entity under METI.
market trends in the MENA region
And in September, Kyocera revealed that it had started work-
ing with ANRE on a subsidized demonstration project to test
the use of automated demand response (ADR) systems for VPPs
above 50MW in size. The company hopes to develop an accu-
rate ADR system that could be used in time for the launch of a
market via the Japan Electric Power Exchange (JEPX) in April
Technologies for local production and consumption in
addition to self consumption of energy will be developed to
connect multiple locations through networks and optimize the
supply and demand of power in communities, Kyocera says.
SB Energy the renewables unit of telecoms giant SoftBank
also sees the development of VPPs as a key technology to
watch in Japan in 2017. But the Tokyo-based company which
has already built 508.6 MW of solar capacity in the coun-
try, with an additional 148.4MW now under construction
declined to comment on how the shift away from utility-scale
development will affect its business.
Lots of power plants were installed from 2012 and it has
caused some output restrictions, a company spokesperson says.
VPPs will be one of the solutions for power generators to install
much more renewable power in Japan. S in conjunction with
 Brian Publicover
Exhibit now!

02/2017 |www.pv-magazine.com

Photo: Grupo Ortiz

The Marcovia solar project is one of the large solar projects put online in Honduras in 2015, constructed by Spains
Grupo Ortiz.

Breaking new ground and this holds true for Central Amer-
ica. Unlike Europe where feed-in tar-
iffs served as the dominant policy model
for the largest wave of solar deployment,
Central Americas solar boom:Central American nations have emerged from Central American nations are currently
obscurity to play a leading role in the deployment and integration of large amounts of utilizing many different means to pro-
cure wind and solar, and developers are
renewable energy. But the Energy Transition in this region is just beginning.
trying new approaches that have not been
used widely elsewhere.
This includes auctions, feed-in tariffs,
Central America is a region composed And although Honduras is the first and merchant projects. Not all of these
of countries very unlike the Western nation known to pv magazine staff to mechanisms are working without flaws,
nations that have deployed large vol- get more than 10% of its electricity on an and some nations have utilized several
umes of renewable energy to date. Ger- annual basis from solar, it has not stopped different forms of procurement.
many, Japan, and other affluent, indus- installing renewable energy, and it is not Not only does the analogy of the
trialized nations are typically associated alone. Nicaragua already has one of the laboratory fit for policy approaches,
with renewables not developing nations highest penetrations of wind in its elec- but also for the issue of integration of
in the Global South. tricity mix globally, and a wave of new renewable energy. As certain Central
However, the nation with the highest renewable energy procurement is also American nations have achieved some
portion of solar generation in its elec- happening in El Salvador and Panama. of the highest penetrations of renew-
tricity mix last year was not Germany, The Energy Transition does not belong able energy deployed to date in the
or Japan, or even Italy. Instead, it was a to the wealthy nations. Not anymore. world, there is the question of how this
nation of 8million people with a per-cap- solar and wind is being integrated into
ita gross domestic product (GDP) of only A test for renewable energy national and regional grids, which are
$5,000 per capita and serious social prob- Latin America can be seen as a labora- largely geographically isolated and in
lems: Honduras. tory for deployment of renewable energy, poor shape.

22 02/2017 |www.pv-magazine.com

This could become even more of an

Photo: Martifer Solar

issue as more renewable energy is added.
For solar in particular, there is a lot of
procurement going on in 2017 and 2018,
which we will explore in the next section.

Auctions, the current trend

Auctions are currently one of the main
mechanisms for adding solar energy
worldwide and this is also the case in
Central America. In specific auctions for
renewables and in auctions open to dif-
ferent technologies, long-term contracts
have already been awarded for more than
300megawatts of solar PV in the last few
years in Guatemala, El Salvador, and
Panama. Around a third of this capacity
is already in operation.
It looks like auctions will continue to
be a source of opportunity for solar in the
region. This year a new electricity auction A rooftop PV project in El Salvador built by Martifer Solar. Central America also has active distributed
for several hundred megawatts open to solar markets.

different technologies is planned in Gua-

temala, where three solar parks totaling feed-in-tariff (FIT) program which Hon- project will sell 100% of its output in the
85MW awarded in auctions are already duras launched in 2013. A cap of 300MW spot market.
in operation. for projects to receive a bonus of $0.03 per In the middle of last year Panama
The most recent auctions in which kilowatt hour was established, and to reached a capacity of 77 MW of solar
solar projects were awarded took place obtain this higher tariff the projects had parks, according to data from regulator
in El Salvador and Panama. In the lat- to be in operation before August 1, 2015. ASEP. In addition to this, ASEP has pro-
ter nation, a milestone was achieved last However, all has not gone as planned. vided final licenses for several hundred
December when a project by Enel Green pvmagazine has learned that there are megawatts of solar projects.
Power was the first solar project to be problems with the payment of the bonus Another mechanism for contract-
awarded a short-term electricity con- tariff. ing solar in the region is bilateral con-
tract in an auction, to supply power from But where payment has been prob- tracts, including a 10MW project which
2017 to 2020. lematic, like other FITs the program was is being built by Grupo Ortiz in El Salva-
Panama has already contracted elec- extremely successful in terms of support- dor, and is expected to go online this year.
tricity from solar parks in a long-term ing the deployment of large amounts of Law firm BLP says that it assisted El Sal-
supply auction. In fact, it is the only solar rapidly. Honduras is currently the vadors Grupo Borja in a 15 year power
country in the region in which an auc- leader in solar capacity in Central Amer- purchase agreement with the utility AES
tion open only to solar has taken place. ica. In 2015, 388MW of solar PV were El Salvador for the supply from this proj-
The auction was conducted in 2014 and put online, with a further 45MW in 2016, ect, and according to a statement by BLP,
five solar projects at an average price of so that the nation achieved a cumulative this is the first contract privately exe-
$87.25 per megawatt hour were awarded, capacity of 433MW of solar PV, accord- cuted in this country that involves this
although contracts for only two projects ing to state utility ENEE. type of power source without resorting
were signed. to a public bidding process.
The other country in which solar proj- Spot market & bilateral contracts Another project that has a bilateral
ects were awarded recently is El Salva- Most of the approximately 600MW of contract with a utility is the 101 MW
dor. In a renewables auction last January solar parks currently installed in the Providencia solar park, which is also
four solar projects totaling 120MW were region were contracted either through located in El Salvador. A portion of this
awarded, at an average price of $51.48 per the Honduran FIT program or through project will deliver electricity through
megawatt hour, the lowest price for solar auctions. However, there are also projects a contract obtained in an auction, but
in the region to date. In another auction under other business models. another portion will be delivered within
in 2014 El Salvador awarded 94MW of While Chile was the first Latin Amer- the framework of a bilateral agreement
solar PV, and these projects are expected ican country to host solar parks that sell with a utility.
to come online this year. the electricity generated in the spot mar-
ket, Panama also hosts merchant proj- Distributed generation
The feed-in tariff experience ects, including the 10MW project Divisa Not only are solar parks blossoming in
Most of the solar capacity online cur- Solar which was completed last year by Central America, but all of the nations in
rently in Central America was not con- Englands Solarcentury and Ecosolar. this region have active distributed solar
tracted through auctions but through a Solarcentury stated last year that this markets. However, the form of regulation

02/2017 |www.pv-magazine.com 23

dams and plants that burn imported liq-

Photo: Gauss Energa

uid petroleum products.

Before its big build-out of wind over
the last decade, Nicaragua was the
nation with the highest portion of fos-
sil fuel generation in the region, which
represented 70% of its annual power as
recently as 2009. As is also the case in
many island nations, heavy dependence
upon imported fuel meant not only high
and unpredictable power prices but also
problems with supply and blackouts.
After Nicaragua reached a higher por-
The Aura Solar2 project, built by Gauss Energa in Honduras. tion of renewables through the deploy-
ment of biomass, geothermal and wind,
differs in each, with some implementing for International Development (USAID) the nation with the next-highest portion
net metering regulations, some relying has provided various forms of support. of fossil fuel generation was Honduras,
on self-consumption programs, and oth- The French Development Agency with thermal power representing nearly
ers lacking a specific framework. (AFD) has helped finance one of the 60% of generation in 2013 and 2014. It was
Guatemala and Panama have both largest solar projects in the region, the during this time that the nation rolled
deployed around 7MW under net meter- 101MW Providencia solar project in El out its aggressive FIT, and the 388MW
ing regulations as of the most recent Salvador. Additionally, Spain is support- of solar deployed in 2015 was equal to 17%
available data from last year. After set- ing a 1.4 MW solar project at a university of the nations entire electricity capacity.
ting up a pilot regulation a few years back, in Honduras. In 2016 EENE estimated that Hondu-
Costa Rica also moved to a full net meter- As for the multilateral banks, the Inter- ras got 52% of its power from renewable
ing program last April. American Development Bank (IADB) energy including hydroelectric dams,
And while the nation with the most and the World Banks International thus mitigating imports of petroleum
installed distributed solar is El Salvador, Finance Corporation (IFC) have pro- products.
it does not yet have a net metering pro- vided finance for most of the utility-scale
gram and official data on the volume of solar projects built in the region, and Integration
installations is incomplete. El Salvador other development banks are also active. However, despite this massive build-out
awarded 11MW of solar in an auction for in these two nations and similar prog-
distributed projects in 2014, and most or Wind, solar, and petroleum ress in Costa Rica, which is nearly 100%
all of these have been completed. There is A calculation of projects in an advanced powered by renewable energy, the num-
also a program with a quota of 1MW for state of development by pv magazine bers for non-hydro renewables are much
residential solar. staff suggests that 200300MW of solar more modest for the region as a whole.
Additionally, in Honduras and Nicara- could come online this year alone, which In 2015, Central America only got 5.9%
gua there has been growth in distributed matches solar electricity production esti- of its power from wind and 1.2% from
solar in the last years. Honduras hosts the mates by Ente Operador Regional, which solar PV, which are similar levels to the
largest solar rooftop installation, a 3MW operates the regional grid. United States.
solar self-consumption project built by These new PV projects will add to However, with the current boom in
local company Smartsolar. already high levels of solar in Honduras, procurement the operator of the regional
where EENE estimates that solar met grid is forecasting that solar penetration
International support 10.2% of demand over the full year 2016. in the region will reach 3.9% in 2017 and
Besides the Honduran FIT program But Honduras is not the only nation with 5.0% in 2018.
which can be considered direct support a high level of variable renewable energy, In theory this should not be much
there has been only indirect support as Nicaragua has been getting 2021% of a problem. In 2014 the International
for solar in the region, like the removal of its electricity from wind since 2014, Energy Agency published a report which
of import taxes for solar products or the placing it roughly tied with Spain as the estimates that most nations can inte-
introduction of tax incentives for solar fourth-highest portion of wind for any grate up to 45% wind and solar with-
projects in some countries. nation on earth. out significant overall additional costs as
More crucial for the growth of utility- To understand why these nations are long as system-wide changes are planned
scale solar in the region has been strong aggressively adding renewable energy, it is carefully.
financial support for projects from multi- important to look at the larger power sys- However, this is theory and every grid
lateral banks and development agencies. tem. Central America has a tiny domes- has unique challenges. As an isthmus
The German Development Agency (GIZ) tic coal mining industry, no pipelines to with impenetrable jungles and marshes at
has advised governments and provided bring in gas from outside the region and its narrow southern end, Central Amer-
support for the deployment of renewable no nuclear power plants. As such, there ica is largely geographically isolated,
energy through a specific program for have traditionally been two main avail- and national grids exhibit high levels of
Central America, and the U.S. Agency able sources of generation: hydroelectric losses.

24 02/2017 |www.pv-magazine.com

SIEPAC advised in 2015 on integration of renewable This is only the beginning. Through
As a project to both improve the reliabil- energy by the German Development Agency a massive build-out of solar, wind and
ity of electricity supply to consumers and (GIZ). It is important to note that this advice hydro, Honduras EENE estimates that
integrate more electricity from renew- comes from a nation with experience in inte- the nation will reach 95% renewable
ables, over the last decade Central Amer- grating high levels of renewable energy. energy in 2027 which is on a similar scale
ica built a regional high-voltage grid, the SIEPAC operator Ente Operador noted to world renewable leader Denmarks
Electrical Interconnection System of in a January report that there is still work plans to reach 100% renewable heat and
Central American Nations (SIEPAC). to do in the regional electricity market electricity by 2035, and ahead of even the
In 2014 the final stretch of transmission (MER). As we have observed the energy most ambitious renewable energy man-
lines in the SIEPAC grid were installed transactions between the nations in MER dates in U.S. states.
in Costa Rica, finalizing the physical have a relevant potential in the order of And while it missed its previous goal
interconnection between six of the seven 4,000gigawatt hours annually, declared of 94% renewable energy by 2017, Nica-
nations in Central America. the report. However it must be taken ragua has readjusted its plans and now
And while electricity trading between into account that in reality these trans- is attempting to reach 90% renewable
the nations has increased in recent actions have not been used optimally, energy in 2020. Currently Nicaragua is
years and hit a new quarterly record of which may be related to the application analyzing 10 new renewable energy proj-
500gigawatt hours in the third quarter of of conservative operational policies or ects featuring multiple technologies
2016, there is more to a grid than power even by particular strategic behaviors by including solar.
lines. For example, in the Western United the agents participating in MER. Whether or not these lofty goals are
States, integration of higher levels of met, Central America has already broken
wind and solar have necessitated changes Forecasts, goals, and ambition new ground, and this region can serve as
to operational practices including more While the smaller volume of renewable an example for nations around the world.
frequent trading of electricity, improved energy markets in Central America have Falling prices for solar PV ensure that
forecasting, and other measures. flown under the radar of some in the solar will play a central role in Central
Honduras appears to have carefully industry, due to rapid deployment, inno- Americas transition to renewable energy,
planned for the integration of the solar vation in procurement, and integration a transition which is already proving that
which it contracted under its FIT. Develop- of record high levels of wind and solar, small developing nations can be world
ers built these solar projects close to main Central America is already a leader in the leaders. S
transmission lines, and the nation was global Energy Transition.  Blanca Daz Lpez & Christian Roselund

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02/2017 |www.pv-magazine.com 25

Photo: Eckhart K. Gouras/pv magazine

While ground-mounted plants have dominated installations in China, 2017 promises to be a big year for
distributed generation in China, as well as many other markets.

From Beijing to Shenzhen: and interviewing their President Jian

Xie is a fine opportunity, so I was wide

cutting-edge PV in China
awake when we entered the JA Solar office
in southwestern Beijing, despite not long
stepping off the long-haul flight from
As Mr. Xie pointed out during the
China road trip: pv magazine Managing Director Eckhart K. Gouras returned to interview, JA Solar was not always based
China at the tail end of 2016 to take the nations PV pulse once more. Traveling from in Beijing, but began life in Hebei prov-
ince in 2007 and tracked its main cus-
Beijing to Shenzhen via a number of logistically significant locations along the way,
tomers as it expanded its wafer, cell and
this was a journey that affirmed Chinas ambition and vision to remain the worlds module business. As foreign markets like
largest and most dynamic solar player. Europe came to the fore, JA Solar moved
its headquarters from Hebei to Shanghai.
As a port city with a long history of for-
Last year was a big one for PV in China. Beijing eign trade, Shanghai was well suited for
In just one month (June) 11GW of solar For pvmagazine it meant that another an exporting powerhouse like JA Solar.
PV were installed across this huge mar- road trip to mainland China was a must The city also became the apex of a PV
ket, and the annual total for last year is as 2016 came to a close. We had ended supply chain centered around the Yang-
estimated at approximately 35 GW. If our December 2015 road trip in Beijing tze River delta. This provides another
accurate, this figure is more than twice at a time when the city was experienc- compelling reason to select Shanghai (or
the amount installed in 2015. That land- ing its first ever red alert pollution cri- any other large city in the Yangtze River
mark 11GW month came immediately sis. A similar ending was in store as we delta) as your companys headquarters.
before Chinas PV feed-in tariff (FIT) was embarked on this years China road trip The dynamics changed in 2013 as the
scaled back significantly on July1. on December11. Severe pollution in many imposition of trade tariffs, first in the U.S.
While the country was building PV of Chinas cities is a significant driver and then the European Union (EU), made
systems on the ground, on rooftops and pushing China to adopt clean energy. the export business less attractive to Chi-
in farms atop fish ponds (the agricultural The situation has become so severe in cit- nese producers. The Chinese government
sector is one of the most promising seg- ies like Beijing that we can expect Chi- quickly changed gears and introduced an
ments in China), the countrys PV man- nas central government to continue its attractive FIT to stimulate PV demand
ufacturers were busy serving a boom- bold embrace of clean energy regardless at home, which up until then had been
ing domestic market and a wide range of what other major polluters around the miniscule. However, back in 2013 few
of established and emerging markets world do or dont do about carbon emis- would have imagined a single month in
overseas. sions and other pollutants. 2016 bringing 11GW of PV installations.
Countries like India were embrac- Fortunately, Beijing was not on red The management of JA Solar may well
ing PV and Chinas PV manufacturers alert mode when we began our road trip have been one of these prescient observ-
seemed destined to play a critical role at the global headquarters of JA Solar, one ers, because in 2014 they decided to move
in making PV a significant part of the of the worlds leading module manufac- the companys headquarters back north
energy mix in such emerging markets. turers. Visiting JA Solars headquarters to the capital city Beijing.

26 02/2017 |www.pv-magazine.com

While they left the manufacturing

Photos: pv magazine
hub in the Yangtze River delta (with a
production capacity of 5.5 GW at the
end of 2016), the place to be to capture
the domestic downstream business was
(and is) Beijing. Unlike other markets,
state-owned utilities are the key actors
when it comes to developing and build-
ing large-scale PV power plants in China,
the leading PV application type in this
huge country. These state-owned utilities
are generally headquartered in Beijing,
where they can tap favorable financing
from Chinas lending institutions, which,
like these utilities, are state-owned enter-
prises (SOEs) or otherwise connected to
Chinas central government. Quick Contact CEO Tank Duan spoke of the companys one stop service to PV customers.
By being close to these key players JA
Solar is set to ship 2.5GW, or about half uring the second half of this year. How
d Quick Contact (QC) is led by a dynamic
of its 2016 shipments, to Chinese custom- can JA Solar get there? On the poly side Founder and CEO, Tank Duan, a veteran
ers. With the Chinese FIT cut looming Xie sees the application of diamond saw- of the solar PV industry having previ-
last June, JA Solar supplied a whopping ing to polycrystalline wafers as shaving ously worked at BP Solar. His company
64% of its second quarter 2016 shipments up to $0.02/kWh off the cost of the poly has become the leading manufacturer
to the domestic market. In Q3 this share module. On the mono side, which is JA of PV connectors in China and QC also
dropped to just 32% with foreign mar- Solars strong suit after it reached a 7GW supplies junction boxes, cables, and com-
kets again serving as the major buyers. milestone of mono modules shipped last biner boxes. Constant innovation is writ-
JA Solar also scored well in Chinas Top summer, the ramp-up of PERC technol- ten large at QC and the company boasts
Runner program, which aims to sup- ogy in the manufacturers cell production one patent for every two employees. Of
port PV manufacturers with high-qual- should boost output by 10 watts by the the roughly 500staff, more than 70 are
ity PV products. In JA Solars case, these end of this year. engineers. They have developed their
are high-efficiency modules like its PER- Another challenge for Xie and the JA own tools for their factories in Suzhou
CIUM line of monocrystalline modules Solar team is the further development and Huaian and their junction box pro-
launched in 2013. of production hubs outside of China. duction is fully automated.
In 2016, the first year of the Top Run- Its wafer, cell and module fabs in Viet- Duan highlights three areas of the
ner program, JA Solar seized 45% of the nam and Malaysia still need to be per- companys strategy: first, to provide a
capacities awarded. In the next round fected and key challenges are handling one stop service for PV connecting sys-
(with 5.5GW at stake), the company will the PV supply chain for such fabs and tems to their customers in China and
likely feature prominently again. Xie dealing with local laws and regulations overseas. Such customers cover various
points out, however, that JA Solar will not (for example relating to the factory work- segments from module manufacturers to
act as a power plant developer and owner force) that can be different from those in EPCs looking for dependable connecting
during the first round, but instead serve China. To tackle these challenges will solutions. Second, to offer smart solu-
only as a panel supplier to those leading take time, so Xie does not expect further tions to QCs customers. Their combiner
Beijing-based development players. The fabs to be opened in 2017. box is a good example: no longer a dumb
latter can get even better financing terms box with a simple on/off functionality,
than JA Solar, and Xie is keen to keep his Suzhou the QC combiner box can monitor every
companys strategic focus on manufac- In Suzhou pvmagazine met two leading string in the PV array. Finally, Duan
turing and not project development and PV material suppliers: Quick Contact a mentions the Toyota model, which
financing. leader in connectors, cables and junction- describes his intention to follow module
This kind of discipline is required boxes for modules; and Cybrid Chinas manufacturers to foreign markets to pro-
because, in Xies words, its quite a chal- leading manufacturer of PV backsheets. vide a capable and local supply chain to
lenge to stay cost-competitive in a mar- These manufacturers work closely with panel producers like JA Solar and their
ket where module average selling prices Chinas top-tier module manufacturers fabs in Southeast Asia. In QCs case the
(ASPs) dropped some 30% in 2016 alone. and are having increasing success with destination is likely to be Thailand, where
Further reductions in both blended mod- foreign customers. another top-tier company (Trina Solar)
ule ASPs and blended module costs are Like their top-tier module counter- has set up a cell and module factory. To
in store for 2017 and Xie anticipates that parts, they have ramped up their produc- finance this international expansion an
the low thirties (in U.S. cents per kilowatt tion to a significant scale, thereby push- IPO is planned in China later this year.
hour) are doable on the cost side by the ing down raw materials and production Compatibility is a key driver behind
end of this year. On the blended ASP costs to further drive down panel costs, Duans strategy to provide this service.
side his prediction is in the mid-thirties and with it, solar LCOE. At its core, this means compatibility

02/2017 |www.pv-magazine.com 27

sunlight onto the cells. This is especially

Photos: pv magazine

the case with white EVA films, where

module efficiency can be boosted by one
to two watts, representing an efficiency
gain of 0.3% to 0.5%. This contribution
is even higher with high-efficiency mod-
ules like JA Solars PERCIUM line of pan-
els described earlier. JinkoSolar is one of
Hangzhou First PVMs key customers
and recognized Hangzhou First PVMs
contribution in making its modules both
PID-resistant and without unattractive
snail trails. As Zhou points out: Sev-
eral years ago EVA played an encapsu-
lant role only, but now the anti-PID capa-
bility should mainly be in the EVA, not
in the cells. Hangzhou First PVMs anti-
PID EVA creates a barrier between the
glass and the cell surface, thereby keep-
ing sodium ions from migrating between
Hangzhou First PV Material CTO Danial Zhou with Eckhart K. Gouras, pvmagazine Managing Director. these layers to destroy the p-n junction
and create the PID outcome.
The snail trail phenomenon is more
between the modules junction box, the lower cost alternative to traditional TPT complex than the PID mechanism.
connectors and the PV cabling used. or KPK backsheets. Wu mentions a cost According to Zhou, various factors are
QCs main international rival MultiCon- saving of 40%, a significant cost saving involved in generating an ugly snail trail,
tact, part of the Swiss Stubli Group, has for module manufacturers contending including the backsheet, EVA, cell layer,
also highlighted compatibility between with a 30% price drop in 2016. and even the module installation pro-
PV components as a key quality issue in Cybrids KPf backsheet also offers a cess. Even so, Hangzhou First PVM was
building robust PV power plants. Com- strong core PET layer with a thickness able to develop an EVA to address this
patibility between different manufactur- of 260microns, which is attached to the problem, which has become a concern in
ers of connector components is a thorny fluoropolymer skin directly without the some important emerging PV markets
issue and the safest way is to use a single insertion of an adhesive as required by like India.
vendor to supply all components of the traditional backsheets. This boosts ther- Unlike its module-maker custom-
connecting system. In China, QC spear- mal conductivity while further reducing ers, Hangzhou First PVM did not have
headed the development of a national overall cost. Another important property to slash prices in 2016 to stay competi-
standard for PV connectors and it can of the PV backsheet is reflectivity, with tive. Across its different products, which
also serve as a third-party testing service the standard KPf product providing a also include backsheets and PO films for
for module manufacturers to verify com- value of 80%. To further boost module a wide range of applications, prices were
pliance with relevant standards. efficiency, Cybrid can offer customers a lowered by 10% last year. The companys
Like its neighbor in Suzhou, Cybrid is KPf+ backsheet with a reflection rate of inputs are mainly oil-based raw materi-
planning to establish a foreign produc- 90%. Together with the turnkey produc- als, reaping benefits from the fall in oil
tion base in the foreseeable future, fol- tion specialist Meyer Burger, Cybrid is prices. Should oil prices increase this
lowing the Toyota model to use Duans developing a KPf++ product, which will year, Hangzhou First PVM will probably
apt analogy. Cybrids cofounder and CEO offer an even higher rate of 99%. stick to its pricing discipline to avoid a
Mark Wu is targeting 2018 for this move, steep reduction in profitability.
and likely countries include Thailand and Hangzhou
Vietnam. Like QC, Cybrid is an innova- In Hangzhou pv magazine met with Hefei
tor, with about 10% of its staff in R&D. Hangzhou First PV Material, the lead- A pvmagazine China road trip would
The fact that Wu employs American and ing supplier of EVA films to the global not be complete without taking a close
Japanese staff underscores the interna- PV industry. The companys VP and CTO look at that key PV system component,
tional mind-set of the Cybrid team. It Danial Zhou is working on increasing the inverter. One Chinese inverter sup-
also reflects its origin as a Sino-Japanese module efficiency and with it lowering plier showing promise is Ginlong (Solis)
cooperation, since Wu teamed up with the cost per watt of the module by boost- Technologies. Based in Ningbo on Chi-
Japanese scientist Dr. Keiji Uno to launch ing the reflection rate. But for Zhou, it is nas eastern seaboard, Ginlong is squarely
Cybrid in China at the end of 2008. About the encapsulant and not the backsheet positioned in the residential and com-
four years after their VC-funded launch, that offers the most potential. Hangzhou mercial & industrial (C&I) markets,
Cybrid introduced a novel backsheet into First PV Materials EVA is closer to the although it also offers inverters for util-
the market. Their KPf backsheet incor- cell layer and glass of the module and ity-scale projects. Its focus has always
porates a fluoropolymer skin to provide a this proximity is helpful in getting more been on the string inverter, starting from

28 02/2017 |www.pv-magazine.com

the very small to larger 50, 60, and 70kW

Photos: pv magazine
models. These last two models are also
Ginlongs latest products and round out
a product portfolio well suited for the
global shift to more distributed genera-
tion. A hybrid storage + inverter prod-
uct is another new addition in the compa-
nys offering, and the first two countries
to be targeted for this solution are Aus-
tralia and the U.K. With low PV FITs but
high electricity rates, self-consumption
tied to storage seems especially promis-
ing in both of these markets.
Ginlongs Founder and CEO Yiming
Wang also sees self-consumption pick-
ing up in China this year. In this case
the driver is actually the countrys FIT,
which will only decline minimally for
solar power consumed where it is pro-
duced. While such power will receive
CNY 0.40/kWh ($0.06/kWh, down Ginlongs CEO Yiming Wang expects the boom in distributed generation in 2017 to boost his companys
slightly from CNY0.42), power sent to inverter shipments from 1GW in 2016 to 1.5GW this year.
the grid will get almost 20% less than
before a more drastic haircut. has not stopped it from gaining market area. The overriding strategic advantage
Overseas, Wang identifies the U.S. share. In fact, in 2015 it already became Huawei brings to the table is its exper-
and India as the top markets, followed the global leader in inverter shipments tise in serving an increasingly all con-
by Europe and Australia. Having passed with the bulk going to projects in China. nected society as Xue refers to the envi-
reliability testing in the past two years When we discussed Huaweis plans and ronment that is emerging. Applying this
in DNV GLs PVEL test lab in the U.S., priorities with Mark Xue, Marketing ICT expertise to PV gives rise to solutions
and also received a favorable bankabil- Director, Smart PV Solution department, such as Huaweis Fusion Solar Smart PV
ity report by DNV GL in 2015, Ginlong is and Steven Zhou, GM, Smart PV Busi- Solution, now in its third generation.
in a very select group of Chinese inverter ness Residential Solution, a more bal- With it PV power plants are monitored
manufacturers to be considered bank- anced portfolio between domestic and down to the string level, where actual I-V
able in the U.S. Wang mentioned Bank foreign shipments is the target for 2016 curves are continually compared to opti-
of America and JP Morgan as blue chip and later years. In 2016 Huawei expects to mal I-V curves for the particular string.
banks that categorize Ginlong as bank- have shipped 20GW globally. Europe is If these values deviate, Huawei has devel-
able for U.S. projects. Reliability is a already one of Huaweis top foreign mar- oped algorithms to diagnose the likely
core value at Ginlong and this philosophy kets with 800MW shipped in 2015 and malfunction.
fits well with banks and investors keen to more expected in 2016. Japan is another Such smart solutions are the future,
factor out risks in their solar assets. country in Huaweis initial target list, and Chinas massive PV deployment is
with 350-400MW shipped in 2015 and an providing a great test bed for develop-
Shenzhen impressive 1GW shipped last year. While ing these technologies and solutions. As
One Chinese inverter manufacturer who these two regions were earmarked for the Huawei and other Chinese PV suppli-
knows all about keeping systems up and initial rollout of Huaweis string invert- ers bring this expertise to foreign mar-
running 24/7 is Huawei. Its headquarters ers, we can expect significant ramp-ups kets, it will help to lower capex and opex
and production hub in southern Shen- in North America, India, Asia Pacific, the costs associated with PV. With this opti-
zhen were the last stop in our road trip, Middle East, and Africa in 2017. mistic outlook for 2017 and beyond I
and Shenzhen and the Pearl River delta Certainly Huaweis established reputa- headed back to Beijing, which was by now
that surrounds it have long had a reputa- tion as a global supplier of ICT products engulfed in another red pollution alert,
tion for producing some of the best elec- and solutions provided fertile ground causing my Air China flight to divert to
tronics products mainland China has to to rapidly gain market share in the PV Hohhot, the capital of Inner Mongolia,
offer. Huawei has emerged as the leader inverter space. In addition, its so-called a vast autonomous region inside China.
in this industry, quickly becoming a shared global platform for after-sales The next morning our Air China crew
global powerhouse in telecommunica- support for its ICT range of products was able to safely land our plane in Bei-
tions and IT hardware. As someone who allowed it to simply plug PV into this plat- jing, with just enough time for me to
has worked in telecommunications, I can form to provide local support in a wide catch my flight back to Europe. I couldnt
well appreciate the 99.999% availability range of countries. However, specialized help but ponder that smart PV will soon
Huawei offers for its ICT equipment. engineers versed in PV still need to be conquer Chinas pollution problems and
Huawei has been a relatively late deployed, but the platform is there and replace coal as the dominant form of
entrant into the PV industry, but this can readily absorb PV as another product power generation. S Eckhart K. Gouras

02/2017 |www.pv-magazine.com 29

Photo: Arctech Solar

A 4 MW tracker installation in Vellakoil, Tamil Nadu. The state currently has 278 MW of solar projects in
construction, on top of 1.36 GW installed capacity.

2017: A crucial year

for Indian solar
Indian installations: With 9 GW in installations lined up for 2017, it can no longer
be denied that India is playing in the big leagues. Raj Prabhu, CEO and Founder of
industry analysts Mercom Capital provides some detail on whats on the horizon for
one of the worlds fastest-growing markets.

Solar installations in India are expected issues that could threaten the pace of ter, largely due to oversupply and the
to reach 4 GW in 2016, almost dou- growth. The countrys solar development price decline of modules coming out of
ble those of 2015. We have reduced our pipeline is now at approximately 14GW, China. The average selling prices (ASPs)
installation forecast from the previous with about 6GW of projects tendered and of Chinese modules in India have wit-
quarter as several project completion pending auction. nessed a decline of approximately 10%
dates have been moved to next year. We Several major concerns that exist in since August and the lowest module price
are forecasting demand to reach almost the sector right now are around trans- quoted has declined by about 14% in that
9GW in 2017 which would put the Indian mission, evacuation, curtailment, timely same period. This decline in prices has
solar sector among the big leagues along payments, and the goods and services tax provided a much needed boost to devel-
with China, the United States, and Japan. (GST). opers that won projects at low bids and
However, there are significant headwinds The project development landscape has were struggling to make the economics
in terms of transmission and evacuation changed significantly over the last quar- work.

30 02/2017 |www.pv-magazine.com

Our recent survey of solar parks has Batch2 (PV 330MW), Phase II Batch1 JNNSM phase II batch3 (SECI)
revealed that the infrastructure in many (PV 680 MW), and other programs Solar Energy Corporation of India
of these parks is incomplete and not ready (167.5MW). (SECI) has called for tenders amount-
for prime time. Developers have raised The MNRE has announced tenders ing to 2.51GW under JNNSM Phase II
concerns about how expensive the park for 3GW of PV projects under this pro- Batch3 State Specific VGF [viability
fees are, compared to the quality of infra- gram, implemented by NTPC through gap funding] Program. Auction results
structure being provided. In some cases open competitive bidding. for 2.3MW projects to be developed in
developers are incurring expenses to The auction results for 2,750 MW Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karna-
clean the land, build roads, and are still (1,000MW in Andhra Pradesh, 650MW taka, Chhattisgarh, and Uttar Pradesh
waiting for power to be evacuated after in Rajasthan, 600 MW in Karnataka, have been announced. According to our
commissioning. All of this can have 400MW in Telangana, and 100MW in sources, PPAs have been signed for all
a negative effect on project costs and Uttar Pradesh) have been announced. Of 2.3GW and we expect around 500MW
profitability. the 2,750MW only 400MW is under the of projects to be commissioned by March
The government of India announced DCR category. PPAs have been signed for 2017. A new tender is expected under this
demonetization on November 8, 2016 2,650MW as of November 2016 and these batch for 500MW of solar in the state
which has affected every citizen and projects are expected to be commissioned of Uttar Pradesh, but not in a solar park.
industry across the country. Essentially, in 2017. A 250 MW project in Andhra
the government ceased the use of 500 and Pradesh was retendered in October 2016 JNNSM phase II batch4 (SECI)
1,000rupee notes as legal tender. While and is pending auction announcements. Under this program 5GW of grid-con-
the effect of demonetization has been MNRE confirmed that, since Tranche- nected solar PV projects on a build, own
varied and implementation chaotic, our I is complete, it will soon launch Tranche- and operate basis with VGF benefits are
analysis indicates a possible positive over- II, which has been delayed due to the to be developed. Tenders for 2.9GW proj-
all outcome for the power sector. Distri- other options being considered by MNRE ects under this program have been issued
bution companies (DISCOMs) are recov- in place of the bundling program. (Gujarat 400MW, Odisha 300MW,
ering unpaid power bills, as consumers
have been allowed to pay using the dis-

Graphics: pv magazine/Harald Schtt

All India cumulative utility-scale solar installations by policy type (MW)
continued notes. Unpaid power bills are a
huge problem for DISCOMs in India and Tamil Nadu Solar Policy

Source: Mercom Capital Group (Dec 2016)

a key reason behind their financial prob- Gujarat Solar Policy
lems. There is also an expectation that REC Mechanism
banks, now flush with funds, could ease Telangana Solar Policy
lending to the power sector and poten- NSM-Phase II Batch 1
tially reduce interest rates. Andhra Pradesh Solar Policy
Delayed payments to developers are Punjab Solar Policy
still an issue in states like Tamil Nadu Karnataka Solar Policy
and Rajasthan. But Maharashtra and NTPC New Solar Projects
Madhya Pradesh are now behind on Madhya Pradesh Solar Policy
their payments, which raises concerns NSM-Phase I Batch 2
that other states will follow. Payments Others
to wind developers are delayed by six to Maharashtra Solar Policy
seven months in some states, and banks NSM-Phase I Batch 1 (Thermal)
are worried that solar may be next. Uttar Pradesh Solar Policy
Transmission and evacuation issues NSM-Phase I Batch 1
are a big concern particularly for solar Rajasthan Solar Policy
parks. Developers are losing revenue due NSM-RPSSGP
to delays. The industry is betting on the Bihar Solar Policy
completion of the Green Energy Corri- Chhattisgarh Solar Policy
dor to solve some of these issues, but the Uttarakhand Solar Policy
project is moving very slowly. NSM-Migration Program
While there is speculation that imple- Odisha Solar Policy
mentation of the GST will be delayed, NSM-Airport Solar Projects
many developers mentioned that uncer- MNRE-Demonstration Program
tainty around the GST and how it will NSM-Canal Top/Bank Projects
affect the sector is giving them pause. Haryana Solar Policy
So far, there are 1.57 GW of util- NSM-Solar Port Projects
ity-scale solar projects commissioned West Bengal Solar Policy
under different phases of JNNSM: the MNRE-Demo. Program (Thermal)
Migration program (PV 48MW and Others (Thermal)
CSP 2.5MW), Phase I Batch1 (PV 0 200 400 600 800 1,000 1,200 1,400
140MW and CSP 200MW), Phase I

02/2017 |www.pv-magazine.com 31

India solar installations (MW) by location (May 2016)

Tamil Nadu
Andhra Pradesh
Madhya Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh
Chhattisgarh Cumulative installed
solar capacity now stands
at 9 GW
New Delhi
West Bengal
Daman & Diu <20 MW
20100 MW
Andaman & Nicobar

Source: Mercom Capital Group (Dec 2016)

Tripura 100500 MW
Jammu & Kashmir
5001,000 MW
Lakshadweep >1,000 MW
0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800 900 1,000 1,100 1,200 1,300 1,400 1,500 1,600

Maharashtra 500MW, Andhra Pradesh category states and islands will receive a maximum of 100MW. Developers can
750MW, Karnataka 200MW, Rajast- subsidy of 70% of the quoted project cost bid for a maximum capacity of 150MW
han 750MW). This includes tenders for or INR52.5/W ($0.7881). under capex and RESCO together. Suc-
300MW with battery energy storage sys- After the initial tender, an amendment cessful bidders can also secure loans from
tems in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. to the capacities allocated under various the Indian Renewable Energy Develop-
Of the 2,900MW only 225MW is under categories had been made, with the total ment Agency. This is the second large-
the DCR category. Auction results for capacity of 500 MW divided into Part scale rooftop solar auction by SECI.The
970 MW have been announced as of A-200 MW (capex), Part B-200 MW nodal agency tendered500MW in April
September 2016 and 225 MW of PPAs (RESCO) and Part C-100MW (capex). 2016.
are signed in Gujarat. These projects are
expected to be commissioned by March Rooftop solar tender State by state updates
of 2017. According to our sources, addi- The Solar Energy Corporation of India Uttar Pradesh: Currently there are about
tional capacities are expected to be ten- (SECI) hastendered1GW of grid-con- 19fivemegawatt solar projects in opera-
dered under this batch. nected rooftop solar in India for instal- tion under the Uttar Pradesh state policy,
lation on government buildings and and about 21fivemegawatt projects cur-
SECI rooftop solar project bids offices throughout the country. Of this, rently under construction are expected to
SECI released a country-wide list of low- 300MW will be developed under a capex be commissioned in 2017. Uttar Pradesh
est prices from the 500MW solar rooftop (purchase) model and 700 MW under also submitted a proposal to the MNRE
auction. The list reveals some of the low- a renewable energy service company to replace 60MW of energy from conven-
est tariffs ever quoted for rooftop projects (RESCO) lease model. This is a global tional power projects with solar.
including subsidies. According to a gov- tender; any company or developer can Andhra Pradesh: There are about
ernment policy document, based on the participate regardless of location. Bid- 590MW of solar projects in operation
lowest project cost quoted for each state ding closed on January 27, 2017. under the Andhra Pradesh state policy,
by bidders, SECI will provide the general Developers of capex projects can bid for and about 93MW of projects are under
category states either a subsidy of 30% of a minimum of 500kW and a maximum construction. Of these 82MW of proj-
the quoted project cost or INR22.5/W of 50MW; developers of RESCO projects ects are expected to be commissioned by
($0.3377), whichever is lower. Special can bid for a minimum of 2MW and a March 2017.

32 02/2017 |www.pv-magazine.com

The renewable energy agency of India utility-scale solar project pipeline (MW)
Andhra Pradesh (NREDCAP) has
received expressions of interest for a NSM Phase II Batch 2 (NTPC)
500 MW wind and solar hybrid park NSM Phase II Batch 4 (SECI)
in Ananthapuram District, which can NSM Phase II Batch 3 (SECI)
be expanded to 1GW over three to five NTPC (Self-owned) New Projects
years. Since there were issues pertain- Telangana Solar Policy
ing to eligibility criteria, this expression Karnataka Solar Policy
of interest has been withdrawn and is NSM Phase II Batch 5 (SECI-CPSU)
currently being amended. The state has Madhya Pradesh Solar Policy
also submitted a proposal to the MNRE Jharkhand Solar Policy
to replace 2MW of energy from conven- Punjab Solar Polic
tional power projects with solar. Tamil Nadu Solar Policy
The Andhra Pradesh government has NSM Phase I Batch 1 (NTPC)-CSP
committed to 10GW of solar and 8GW Uttar Pradesh Solar Policy
of wind by 2022. Of this, there are plans Haryana Solar Policy
for 3GW of hybrid wind and solar proj- Uttarakhand Solar Policy
ects. The state is also looking at incorpo- Others
rating energy storage. Andhra Pradesh Solar Policy
The Andhra Pradesh Electricity Reg- NSM Canal Top/Canal Banks Scheme
ulatory Commission (APERC) also pro- REC Mechanism
posed a new aggressive renewable pur- Kerala Solar Policy
chase obligation (RPO) target of 25.25% West Bengal Solar Policy
for the FY 2021-22, which includes a solar NSM Solar Port Projects
RPO of 12.75%. Bihar Solar Policy
Punjab: There are about 558MW of Odisha Solar Policy Projects tendered, pending auctions (6 GW)
solar projects in operation under the Rajasthan Solar Policy Projects under development (14 GW)
Punjab State Policy and about 433MW of NSM/Defense Scheme Source: Mercom Capital Group (Dec 2016)
projects under construction are expected NSM Phase II Batch 6 (SECI)
to be commissioned in 2017. 0 500 1,000 1,500 2,000 2,500 3,000
Madhya Pradesh: There are 340MW
of solar projects installed under Madhya
Pradeshs state policy and 292MW under Haryana: Haryana Power Purchase were sought for up to 20MW on a taluk-
construction are expected to be commis- Centre, on behalf of UHBVN and by-taluk (county) basis in 60 taluks.
sioned by early 2017. Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam Also 100MW of capacity was reserved
The Madhya Pradesh state government (DHBVN), invited tenders for 150MW of for solar cell and module manufactur-
released the Madhya Pradesh Renewable solar projects. PPAs have been signed for ers located in Karnataka. Of the total
Energy Policy 2016 with focus on roof- 152MW, which are expected to be com- 1.17 GW (1,070 MW General Cate-
top solar PV systems. The state govern- missioned in 2017. gory and 100MW Module Manufac-
ment will provide a 30% subsidy to users The Haryana Electricity Regulatory turer Category) PPAs have been signed
installing on their own rooftops or land. Commission (HERC) raised the incen- for 1.01 GW by bidders quoting prices
Government buildings and government- tive offered by the state government up to INR 5.50/kWh ($0.08) under the
owned lands are expected to fetch devel- for rooftop solar. Residential homes general category (a 20 MW SunEdi-
opers a subsidy of 45% to 50%. with rooftop solar installed will get an son project was cancelled). All the PPAs
incentive of INR 1/kWh ($0.014) this under the module manufacturer cate-
Utility-Scale solar projects by status (MW) is four times the previous incentive of gory with prices quoted up to INR6.10
INR 0.25/kWh ($0.0037). ($0.089) have been signed and these proj-
14,030 Karnataka: There are 492MW of solar ects are expected to be commissioned in
projects installed under the Karnataka the third quarter of 2017. Currently, DIS-
state policy and 1.781 GW under con- COMs have been directed by the state
9,018 struction. There have been no changes government to sign supplemental PPAs
Source: Mercom Capital Group (Dec 2016)

to Batch I, II and III since our previous by November15, 2016 for these projects
6,143 update. to correct clerical errors.
Under Batch IV, KREDL signed PPAs Telangana: There are 809MW of solar
for 500 MW in early 2015, of which projects installed under the Telangana
300 MW has been commissioned. The state policy and 2GW under construc-
remaining projects are expected to be tion. Telangana has submitted a proposal
Under commissioned by early 2017. to the MNRE to replace 1GW of energy
In-Operation development Tendered Under Batch V, tenders were issued from conventional power projects with
for 1.2GW. Under this program, tenders solar.

02/2017 |www.pv-magazine.com 33

Solar installations in India mission deadline for these projects was

on November18, 2016. TANGEDCO has
10,000 Annual installations (MW) Cumulative installations (MW) 20,000 received a tepid response to its request
for selection (RfS) toprocure 500MWof
9,000 18,000 solar through a reverse auction. Bids of
only 117MW have come in so far, which is
8,000 16,000 less than 25% of the original procurement
goal. This is not surprising considering
7,000 14,000 Tamil Nadus reputation when it comes to
curtailment and payment issues.
6,000 12,000 In another development, the NGO
Energy Watchdog has filed a peti-
5,000 10,000 tion against Tamil Nadu Electric-
9,020 ity Regulatory Commission (TNERC)
4,000 Annual solar installations 8,000 and TANGEDCO to extend the con-
Cumulative solar installations trol period for the solar power tariff of
3,000 Source: Mercom Capital Group (Dec 2016) 6,000 INR7.01/kWh ($0.104) by one year.
4,150 The court filing says that the TNERC
2,000 4,000 extended the control period of its solar
power tariff ignoring the revised, down-
1,000 986 2,000 ward benchmark capital cost of INR5.68/
1,004 kWh ($0.0849) for solar power as issued
6 12 172 883
0 0 by the Central Electricity Regulatory
2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015f 2016f 2017f Commission (CERC).
Uttarakhand: There are 60 MW of
solar projects installed under the Utta-
Bihar: Bihar State Electricity Board the Tamil Nadu state policy and 278MW rakhand state policy and 151MW under
(BSEB) signed PPAs in February 2015 under construction. construction. These projects had a strict
to set up 100MW of solar projects. Of The Tamil Nadu Generation and Dis- deadline to be commissioned by Octo-
this, 80MW are commissioned and the tribution Corporation (TANGEDCO) ber 2016 but due to delays in signing PPAs
remaining projects are expected to be has also issued a request for selec- and evacuation delays by the DISCOMs,
commissioned by the end of 2016. tion (RfS) to procure 500MW of solar the commissioning dates were extended
Tamil Nadu: There are currently power from developers in Tamil Nadu to the first quarter of 2017. PPAs were
1.36GW of solar projects installed under through a reverse auction. The bid sub- finally signed in November of 2016.

Top 10 solar states in India

Tamil Nadu Rajasthan Gujarat Andhra Pradesh Telangana

1,577 485 1,324 1,205 1,100 300 1,009 1,494 1,006 2,418

Madhya Pradesh Punjab Karnataka Maharashtra Uttar Pradesh

Source: Mercom Capital Group (Dec 2016)

861 722 569 452 510 3,375 383 957 241 696

9,018 MW cumulative solar capacity 3,732 MW solar installations Total instalation( MW) Under development (MW)

34 02/2017 |www.pv-magazine.com

Chandigarh: The Chandigarh administration has targeted
rooftop installations of 50MW by 2022. To achieve this target,
the Chandigarh administration is providing incentives includ-
ing a central subsidy of 30% and an incentive for Residents Wel-
fare Associations (RWAs) in the Union Territory.
Jharkhand: Jharkhand Renewable Energy Development
Agency (JREDA) issued a tender to develop 1,200MW of solar
projects in December 2015. Letters of intent have been issued
for projects totaling 1,101MW, but PPAs are yet to be signed
between developers and DISCOMs. A Jharkhand Renewable
Energy Development Agency (JREDA) official confirmed that
the delay is due to a disagreement between the DISCOM and
the developers relating to the quoted tariff. The recent low bids
in several states has led the DISCOM to demand a lower quote
from the solar project developers.
Tenders are issued for rooftop solar installations of about
5MW for government buildings. The JREDA will fund the
installation through funds received from the Government of
India and the Government of Jharkhand. The nodal agency will
also hold a pre-bid meeting with developers to discuss issues
and provide clarifications on November17, 2016.
JREDA also issued tenders to develop solar for the rural elec-
trification of 290villages with a six month completion time line. RENEWABLE ENERGY
Kerala: There are about 27MW of solar projects in opera-
tion in the state including a 12.5MW grid-connected rooftop
solar project, a 2MW solar project on a government building, a
Our experience is
12MW ground-mounted project in Cochin International Air-
port, and a 0.75MW at Calicut Airport. your advantage
Andaman and Nicobar Islands: NTPC has tendered 43MW
of solar projects in Andaman & Nicobar and has signed an MoU
with the MNRE and Andaman and Nicobar Administration to Attention to precision and reliability. In every detail.
set up 50MW of solar projects with battery energy storage sys- As a pioneer and global market leader for connectors,
tems in the city of Port Blair.
Stubli Electrical Connectors has amassed over 20 years
Chhattisgarh: There are 69MW of solar projects in opera-
of experience in the photovoltaics industry. To date, 140
tion under the state solar policy. The state has submitted a pro-
posal to the MNRE to replace 4MW of energy from conven- GW or 50% of the PV power worldwide has been success-
tional power projects with solar. fully installed using over 1 billion original MC4 connectors.

Indias Top10 sunny states: As of January 1, 2017, Multi-Contact conducts its

India has a total installed large-scale solar capacity of 9.02GW
business and services as Stubli Electrical Connectors.
and a pipeline of 14.03 GW as of December 2016, with the
top 10 states accounting for approximately 90% of all solar
installations and pipeline. These states hold the key to Indias
solar future. S Your bankable partner.
 Raj Prabhu

About the author
Raj Prabhu is CEO and cofounder of
Mercom Capital Group, llc, a clean
energy communications and consult-
ing firm with offices in the United
States and India. Mercom consults its
clients on market entry, strategy, pol-
icy, due diligence and joint ventures.
For more information, visit: http://
www.mercomcapital.com. Mercoms
clean energy reports can be found on:
http://store.mercom.mercomcapital. Staubli is a trademark of Stubli International AG,
registered in Switzerland and other countries.
com/page/. Stubli 2016 | Photocredits: Stubli

02/2017 |www.pv-magazine.com 35

Photo: ACWA Power

The 200MW Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park is nearing completion in Dubai.

Building big in MENA

New energy plans: The United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia both announced in
January new energy plans for their countries, targeting a large share of solar PV in
their energy mix. pvmagazine presents the latest update from both countries and
provides a first estimate of what is possible and how soon.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) United Arab Emirates The state will be the off-taker of the
and Saudi Arabia made headlines at Speaking at various events during Abu generated electricity, said Al Mazrouei,
this years Abu Dhabi Sustainability Dhabi Sustainability Week, the UAEs however the UAEs government has taken
Week (ADSW), which ran from Janu- Energy Minister Suhail Al Mazrouei said the decision to allow renewables to com-
ary12to21 and included, among other the country decided recently that 44% of pete. The latter, according to the minis-
events, the World Future Energy Summit the installed power capacity in 2050 will ters presentations, means first that the
(WFES) as well. Both oil-rich countries come from renewable energies. Nuclear Government has decided to remove sub-
made bold policy pledges towards renew- energy, green gas, and clean coal will con- sidies for electricity generated through
able energy development, and most nota- tribute a further 6%, 38% and 12% respec- fossil fuels and second, that all future
bly solar photovoltaics. tively, added the minister. energy investments, for both renew-

36 02/2017 |www.pv-magazine.com

able and conventional power plants, will is particularly the case when many small ect incorporating water and energy-sav-
need to come through private investors. plants are dispersed as opposed to hav- ing technologies such as rooftop solar.
About $190 billion of investment will ing one big power plant in one location, pvmagazine was offered a tour in the
be required for the UAE to meet its new he noted. impressive villa, which will soon host
energy strategy goals, said the Energy Discussing Masdars investment plans an Emirati to test it. The Eco-Villas cost
Minister, and this will need to come via on a separate occasion with a press team was not disclosed though, and although
private investors, he noted. in Abu Dhabi, Bader Al Lamki, Executive such pilot projects add to the UAEs R&D
Director at Masdars clean energy divi- activity, they appear far from commer-
Last but not least sion, said that the company will definitely cialization at this stage.
Compared to Western nations, the UAE participate in future renewable energy
has been slow in designing an energy tenders, when they are announced. At Saudi Arabia
strategy that addresses renewable energy the moment, there is a road map for the Saudi Arabias Energy, Industry and
development. The reason for this, argued UAEs new energy strategy but the details Mineral Resources Minister Khalid Al-
Al Mazrouei, is that the UAE govern- are yet to be communicated, Al Lamki Falih also announced at the ADSW a new
ment wanted the new policy to come added. grand energy plan for the country. The
from the bottom up, shaped via talking new energy master plan is set to com-
with all relevant stakeholders. He did not Small-scale PV mence in a few weeks time, when Saudi
hide though that the boldness of the new The UAE is a federation that comprises Arabias government will launch the
energy strategy stems from the UAEs seven emirates, of which Abu Dhabi and first round of bidding for a new renew-
leaders, hinting at a top down approach Dubai are the two largest. Apart from able energy tender. Solar and wind power
too. the federal governments energy strategy will be the preferred technologies in these
Nevertheless, when working towards goals, each emirate also has its own sep- upcoming tenders, with an initial goal of
the new energy strategy, the Energy Min- arate energy targets. Speaking with vari- 9.5GW by 2023. By 2030, the country will
ister mentioned a few times that apart ous stakeholders on the WFES grounds generate 70% of its electricity from nat-
from sustainability, energy cost was also and seminars,pvmagazineunderstands ural gas and 30% from renewables and
taken into account. People should be able that Dubai is the most active emirate in other sources, promised Al-Falih. Other
to afford their electricity bills, said the working towards a decentralized energy resources include nuclear power plants,
Emirati minister. Therefore, renewable system. with the government currently in the
energy technologies rapidly decreasing For instance, Saeed Mohammed early stages of planning for two nuclear
costs, most notably those of PV, were a Ahmed Al Tayer, Dubai Electricity and reactors totaling 2.8GW.
trigger for the UAE to shift towards a new Water Authority (DEWA) CEO, told The new Saudi energy program that
energy strategy, Al Mazrouei accepted. the WFES that Dubai has set its own Al-Falih announced in Abu Dhabi stems
The UAEs renewable energy target will strategy to generate 25% of its electric- from last years Vision 2030 strategy,
not only come from solar PV other zero ity from renewables by 2015. And it is which aims to prepare the country for a
carbon technologies along with energy not only the targets, Al Tayer argued. post-oil economy. The renewable energy
efficiency measures will be included too, Dubai has also set a smart grid initiative, sector was relieved to hear the minister
Al Mazrouei told the WFES. Speaking at which includes a smart meter roll out, targeting 9.5 GW of renewable capac-
the same WFES panel, however, Yousif Al while about 100EV chargers are already ity by 2023 though, since last year the
Ali, Director for Business Growth at Mas- installed in the city, he said. Recently too, country had significantly scaled back
dar, Abu Dhabis state-owned company DEWA signed memorandums of under- its target for renewable energy, aiming
that aims to foster renewable energy tech- standing (MoUs) with startup companies for only 3GW of capacity by 2020. The
nology in the UAE, said that the Emir- to test systems combining solar and stor- new 9.5 GW target, Al-Falih claimed,
ates do not have great wind resources, age in households and businesses, track- will require between $30 and $50billion
while the solar resource is abundant. Al ing their use and performance. The goal investment, which similarly to the UAE,
Ali added that Masdar watches the devel- is for Dubai to become the worlds smart- will need to come from the private sector.
opment of various technologies and sees est city, said Al Tayer.
that in the next three years the choice of Such an appetite to try things in Dubai Growing oil consumption
solar PV and batteries will be obvious due is encouraging, however critics say that Saudi Arabia is OPECs biggest oil pro-
to the low cost. Given the UAEs excellent such efforts are set to remain only exper- ducer, however the IMF recently cut the
solar resource, [they] expect to see very imental, because the countrys very cheap countrys growth forecast, with the new
competitive prices for [utility-scale] PV electricity price does not encourage con- estimates expecting that the GDP will
development in the country. sumers to consider alternative options. only rise by 0.4% this year, down from
Masdars Al Ali also told WFES that Rooftop PV does not have any chance of the 4.0% GDP growth that was predicted
while the UAE currently follows the inde- being commercialized in the UAE, unless in October 2016.
pendent power purchase (IPP) model, a fundamental redesign of the electricity Hamed Al-Saggaf, the Director for
where private investors tender for capac- tariff policy is undertaken. Independent Power Projects and Renew-
ity, developing the solar energy sector Masdar City, which is a small complex able Energy at the state-owned Saudi
further and aiming at larger renewable of buildings in Abu Dhabi that offers a Electricity Company (SEC), told the
energy capacities, the country should model for an ecocity in the region, also WFES that Saudi Arabias growing oil
perhaps examine other schemes too. This launched its firstEco-Villa, a pilot proj- consumption will be a risk to its oil

02/2017 |www.pv-magazine.com 37

Most significantly, the UAE has devel-

Photo: pv magazine/Ilias Tsagas

oped important institutional capacity

that can support the newly announced
energy strategy. Masdar is the prime
example. The company has a rich activity
both within the country and abroad, and
while its main focus is solar and wind, it is
also making steps in carbon capture proj-
ects and waste-to-energy plants. Masdar
has a portfolio of 2.7GW of operational
power projects globally, and its main
characteristic is that it works through
establishing partnerships with foreign
stakeholders, allowing it to acquire expe-
rience in various renewable energy areas.
It is also leading a consortium develop-
ing the mega 800 MW Phase 3 of the
Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum
Solar Park in Dubai, for which GranSo-
lar, Acciona, and Ghella were awarded
the EPC contract last month. The Abu
Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority
Masdars protoype Eco-Villa, a project incorporating water and energy-saving technologies such as (ADWEA) is also a leading institution
rooftop PV. aiming to develop solar in the Emirate,
while in the neighboring Dubai Emir-
exports if the country does not develop tional plants are a small pilot project and ate, DEWA is leading the way, with plans
renewable energies. Peak load demand a 10 MW rooftop project at a parking that include the Mohammed bin Rashid
is growing very rapidly 7% to 9% a facility in Aramcos headquarters, which Al Maktoum Solar Park and others.
year and last year reached about 10.2% is the worlds biggest oil company. Saudi Arabia, on the contrary, has no
to 62.5GW, said Al-Saggaf. In the last Osama Khawandanah, Senior Vice previous institutional experience and
15 years we have trebled our demand, President of Energy Trading and Ven- expertise in the renewable energies sec-
and in the next 15 it could double again, tures at the SEC told the WFES that tor to showcase. Thamer Al-Sharhan,
to 122GW. If we continue to use fossil future renewable and conventional power Managing Director of ACWA Power,
fuels to reach this demand, our export of plants will be based on IPP contracts, the countrys leading renewable energy
oil will be at risk since the rate of con- however he did not say whether the new developer, told a WFES panel that pri-
sumption of oil in Saudi Arabia is 4% Saudi energy program will also include a vate firms always allocate and measure
greater than our rate of [oil] production feed-in tariff for renewable energy plants, the market risks and come up with prac-
increase, he concluded. in response to a question from a mem- tical solutions. To do so in Saudi Arabia,
Solar PVs role in offering a solution ber of the audience. He did promise that he argued, the new energy master plan
to Saudi Arabias peak load demand SEC will commit to buying all gener- needs to be accompanied by a clear, fair
was also highlighted to pvmagazine by ated electricity from the new renewable and transparent regulatory framework
First SolarsVice President of Business energy plants. that promotes competition among pri-
Development for the Middle East, Raed vate stakeholders.
Bkayrat. Bkayrat said there is definitely UAE leads, Saudi Arabia initiates Furthermore, according to leading
potential for Saudi Arabia to tap into There is no doubt that of the two coun- Saudi executives speaking at the WFES,
solar energy more extensively in order tries, and within the Gulf Region, the the government wants the country to
to address its peak load requirements, UAE is leading the way in renewables. develop strong domestic R&D and local
while he also referred to the SECs ongo- The UAEs power demand in 2013 was manufacturing sectors in the green sec-
ing tender to procure two solar PV plants 27GW and is expected to surpass 40GW tor. It is not clear yet what form the
with a combined 100 MW of installed by 2020. Its Energy Minister was very upcoming Saudi renewable energy ten-
capacity. positive that the country would achieve ders will take in order to pursue such
its new energy strategy targets, while the goals.
Establishing a new policy UAE has also ratified the Paris Climate One thing that is certain is that Saudis
framework Agreement. In other words, the Emirates need to make a fast move. The country is
A crucial problem in Saudi Arabia is that is exercising a kind of leadership in the in dire need of diversifying its economy,
the country does not have in place a regu- green sector for the region, and although and since this is linked to the electric-
latory framework for renewable energies. both solar PV and concentrated solar ity sector, a way to start is by reforming
Saudis have not concluded a renewables power installed capacities are currently the electricity subsidies. The following
tender so far, while concerning solar PV less than 200 MW, projects have been months will show whether Saudi Arabia
specifically, Saudi Arabias only opera- tendered and are under implementation. can learn quickly enough. S Ilias Tsagas

38 02/2017 |www.pv-magazine.com
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Markets & Trends

Photo: Solar Solutions

The Exasun black glass-glass back contact PV module,which is produced in the Netherlands, presented at the
Solar Solutions trade show.

Strong and stable

Dutch PV opportunities: The Netherlands has been a latecomer to the renewable
energy table. Still known as a gas-land, the Netherlands is among the bottom three
worst performing countries of Europe when it comes to clean energy. But the country
has found the way up and is creating the conditions for a stable and upward trend.

The advantage of deferral has given the tem after 2020. Branche organizations national Agreement on Energy for Sus-
Netherlands, a latecomer to the renew- who represent installers, home owners, tainable Growth, former minister Ed Nij-
able energy table, the edge in being able housing corporations, consumers, farm- pels, has said that changing the net meter-
to learn from other countries past mis- ers, and many more all want to maintain ing system after 2020 should not be on
takes. Along with the urgent need to the current system. They believe this is the table for debate. His argument is that
invest in clean energy in order to meet necessary since the Netherlands is still every kilowatt hour is needed to meet EU
EU demands, the Netherlands is creat- way off target with its renewable energy targets. The Dutch minister of economic
ing a stable market for the coming years. goals. The net metering system is success- affairs (whose party also passed the reso-
The Dutch solar market has been grow- ful and easy to understand to end users lution to continue net metering until the
ing at a steady pace for the last five years. and they fear that any change to a system end of 2023) will make his final decision
It is foreseen that the market will remain or even a debate for fear of uncertainty this spring (possibly after the upcoming
stable and grow until at least the end of will slow growth of a market that is still elections in March).
2023. The net metering system will be fragile and has just awoken.
in place until 2020 as guaranteed by the The Dutch parliament passed a reso- Installed capacity
Dutch minister of Economic Affairs. An lution in December 2016, which stated On January 25 the annual Dutch Solar
intense debate has been going on in order that net metering will continue until the Trend Report was presented during the
to maintain the current net metering sys- end of 2023. Also the Chairperson of the leading Dutch conference on solar energy,

40 02/2017 |www.pv-magazine.com
Markets & Trends

and finally in over voltage protection

Graphic: pv magazine/Harald Schtt

Annual PV market growth for the Netherlands

and wanting to be truly energy inde-
700 Added capacity (MW/year) minmax pendent. Many battery companies have
120 MWp already become active in the Dutch mar-
600 ket in order to build a network of sup-
pliers and installers and getting to know
500 this market.
400 MIP and Dutch customs
377 Another defining aspect of the Dutch
300 market is the import of PV panels
302 through the harbor of Rotterdam (the
200 largest harbor in Europe). In the Nether-
lands 3GW (11.2million PV panels) was
100 imported, with a total value of 1.5bil-
21 lion. The most striking trend in these
0 59 imports is the fact that in January 2016,
2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016* 63% of imported PV panels originated
* based on preliminary estimations Source: Dutch Solar Trendreport / Solar Solutions from China. Eleven months later the
share of PV panels coming from China
was down to 6%! This change is caused
the Solar Business Day. The Dutch mar- 1GW of annual newly installed capac- by the European Minimum Import Price
ket had a total of 2GW installed at the ity in either 2017 or 2018. If net meter- regulation. Worldwide, panel prices have
end of 2016 (about 1.5% of total Dutch ing stays intact until the end of 2023, this been declining and the MIP remained at
annual electricity consumption). will slow the development of the storage 0.56/W until the end of 2016. Most pro-
The annual Dutch solar market is market. Still, many solar professionals duction has been moved to Vietnam with
divided up into about 50% to 60% resi- remain strongly positive about the energy also Malaysia and Singapore on the rise
dential as of 2016, and the rest consists storage market and expect growth. Many as countries of production.
of commercial projects like the rooftops companies will take storage products
of agricultural companies, industry, and into their portfolio over the upcoming Growing Belgian market
business parks, and open field projects. two years. From the Dutch Solar Trend For many years, the Belgian market out-
The market share of commercial projects Report we know that the largest demand paced the Netherlands. Unfortunately
is growing. For these commercial proj- for knowledge in the Dutch market is for due to government policy the Belgian
ects subsidies are available (called SDE+). subsidies and government policy, and on market came to a screeching halt in
And since the EU 2020 and 2023 targets the other side information about energy 2013. The result, as seen in many Euro-
are still far away, the Dutch government storage possibilities. pean countries due to start-stop policy of
is investing ever larger sums in renew- This hot storage market will grow governments, has been a painful loss of
ables. For 2017 alone there are 12billion into two markets: First is the utility-scale work and many bankruptcies. Recently,
available for large commercial sustain- market. The business case for utility pur- the solar market has gained traction in
able energy projects and for PV projects poses is in ramping of wind farms and Belgium, although at a slow pace. With
larger than 15kW. At the beginning of coal and gas-powered plants, as well as Belgium slowly getting on its feet, several
2017 the largest commercial solar park in frequency regulation for the transmis- Dutch companies are moving into Bel-
the Netherlands (30MW) was opened, sion systems operator and off-grid sys- gium, mainly in the Flanders region. And
which is a clear sign that the Netherlands tems like on islands and coastal appli- with only one solar trade fair in the Bene-
has found its way up on the clean energy cations. The business case for residential lux region remaining, namely Solar Solu-
ladder. storage applications can be found first tions, many Belgian installers, housing
in self-consumption, second in lower- corporations and large companies ori-
Trends in the Dutch market ing capacity tariff in the fuse box, third ented on solar energy come to Solar Solu-
The Dutch market chain consists of com- in backup systems (e.g. alarm-systems), tions close to Amsterdam. S Rolf Heynen
panies active as (process) equipment
manufacturers, end-product manufac-
turers, wholesalers, installers and sys- About the author
tem-integrators, and non-technical ser- Rolf Heynen is the Director of Solar Solutions international trade fair
(upcoming March22 & 23 , the Solar Business Day conference and author
vices. Overall, 2,100 companies are active
of the annual Dutch Solar Trend Report. His company is also active in
in the Netherlands, employing around LED lighting, energy storage, district heating, consulting, and market
9,000 full-time workers and creating a research. Heynen holds degrees in both electrical engineering and politi-
total turnover of 2.5billion. cal science.
There is a general consensus about the
future growth of the Dutch solar mar-
ket. There is already talk about reaching

02/2017 |www.pv-magazine.com 41

Photo: ENGIE/ Antoine Meyssonnier

Tractebel-ENGIE and PVA have conducted a strategic study, which shows that solar could provide up to 80% of
electricity for the PACA region of southern France.

Europes energy valley?

Solar in Provence: Vice-President of the French giant ENGIE (formerly GDF-Suez),
Thierry Lepercq, reveals the contents of a major strategic study. If its recommendations
are applied concretely, the Provence-Alpes-Cte dAzur (PACA) region of France could
become the California of Europe with regard to solar PV.

Engie is not a small player. Directed We presented the results to the Pres- The study was carried out as a true
by Isabelle Kocher, who is President of ident of the French Union of Electric- topological work integrating the 99elec-
the Terrawatt Initiative, which prom- ity (UFE), Christine Goubet-Milhaud, trical power substations of the region,
ises affordable solar energy for all, this as well as EDFs R&D Director, Bernard continues Lepercq. Powerful statisti-
French group now has 159,900employ- Salha, and representatives of RTE and Of cal tools have been used, in particular to
ees worldwide, and achieved a turnover ENEDIS (formerly ERDF) during the sec- identify possible congestion points on the
of 69.9billion in 2015. It is the worlds ond half of 2016, and our vision is com- electricity grid. 100% renewables is very
third largest non-oil energy group, and mon, says Lepercq, who feels that the manageable, thanks to an exoskeleton
the worlds largest independent electric- exchanges were particularly construc- of electronics of the network, Lepercq
ity producer. Engie delivers electricity to tive. The UFE has itself carried out stud- stresses. The job is gigantic. In other
2% of the worlds population. ies in the perspective of high levels of words, it will generate a lot of jobs.
The PACA100 study led by Amaury renewable energy in Europe. The study is the result of a lot of heavy
Korniloff is the result of an initiative of From an electrical point of view, technical work, no figures are launched
energy startupSolairedirect. Solairedi- the PACA region is an island, explains without purpose, underlines Lep-
rect has become a fully fledged compo- Lepercq, emphasizing that insularity ercq. The study benefited not only from
nent of Engie. Completed in June 2016, is the basic, founding hypothesis of the Solairedirects 10 years of experience in
the study was carried out by two entities, PACA100 study. The other major hypoth- the field, but also from the expertise of
Tractebel-Engie and CVA who took an esis is that of zero subsidy and 100% pri- Engies industrial team, for the costs of
open and collaborative approach and vate financing. The system will be resil- solar, batteries and hydrogen-based tech-
co-financed by the Caisse des Dpts ient, capable of ensuring its own security nologies. The work is both technical and
et des Consignations, explains Lepercq. and sustainability. economic, and the result is very robust.

42 02/2017 |www.pv-magazine.com

Manosque, future capital of H2? study. About one sixth of this 350km2

Photo: ENGIE
The study outlines a way for the PACA camp is enough to meet one quarter of
region with 5million inhabitants (7.5% the regions total needs. The PACA region
of the French population), including the has an area of 31,400km2. France cur-
cities of Marseille, Toulon, Cannes, and rently has 7,000km2 devoted to agrofuel
Nice call home to reach 100% renew- crops, in response to a very modest share
able energy by 2030. The proposed system of the demand for fuels. If this surface
includes 25GW of ground-mounted PV were to be converted into solar farms,
plants. The targeted electricity mix will then not only would the entirety of the
be 80% solar PV, 5% wind, and 15% com- current regional electricity demand be
posed essentially of hydroelectricity. covered, but also the total demand for
Two gigawatt redox batteries, as well all types of transport, if fully converted
as other flexibility tools such as elec- to 100% electricity. The efficiency of PV
tric vehicle charging and power modu- generation is 180times higher than that
lation (including domestic hot water), of thermo-mobility based on agrofuels,
will enable intra-day management. Our according to a 2015 study by the Roches-
approach is systemic, insists Lepercq. ter Institute of Technology.
Everything stands. Moreover, solar farms are micro-hab-
The salt pits of Manosque, at the edge of itats, which can be appreciated by many
the forest of Pelissier, will have a key role living species. For example, bees ben-
in the ecosystem that Engie could set up. efit from the absence of pesticides. The ENGIE Vice President Thierry Lepercq believes
Excess electricity generated in the summer energy return rate of solar PV is now that the PACA region in southern France can be
100% powered by renewables by 2030.
months will be stored in the form of hydro- higher than that of oil, according to a
gen via water electrolysis, and the stored metastudy from Imperial College Lon-
gas will be used during the winter when the don. Another report published in 2015 siders the local elected representatives
solar resource is less abundant. The land- by the Massachusetts Institute of Tech- visionaries. DLVA has an area of 838km2,
scape impact of this fully underground nology also notes a further advantage of 10times that of Belle-le-en-mer and one
storage system will be virtually zero. The solar over biomass, in that Silicon is the tenth that of Corsica. Already 150MW
Storengy subsidiary, one of the first stor- second most abundant element in the of solar power plants have been installed
age operators in Europe, is now active on Earths crust. So even if the world became and there is room for a lot more, accord-
the site, in the heart of the protected area 100% photovoltaic there will be no short- ing to Lepercq. At the level of PACA, this
of the Luberon Regional Nature Park. The age of raw materials. operation will be part of a prospective
Engie Group employs some of the worlds subject of major strategic interest.
leading gas experts. No less than 5GW of The energy valley Located 15 kilometers south of
electrolyzers dedicated to inter-seasonal In December 2016, the representatives of Manosque, the Cadarache research cen-
hydrogen storage are envisaged within the the Durance Luberon Verdon Agglom- ter is one of the most important research
framework of PACA100. ration (DLVA) containing Manosque, centers on nuclear energy in Europe,
Based on our experience we have located in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence and belongs to the Alternative Energies
retained a hypothesis of low acceptabil- and Var departments, were consulted and and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA).
ity of wind due to landscape consider- voted unanimously in favor of the proj- The density of scientists and engineers
ations, explains Lepercq. In France, ect. The sector is endowed with peo- in this geographical area is particularly
some associations are systematically tak- ple who think well, says Lepercq, who high, and the Engie project could make it
ing legal action to block wind projects, is very attached to this region, and con- resemble Californias Silicon Valley.
which is wasting time. No new pumped- Advertisement
storage hydroelectricity is foreseen in the
study, also due to the problem of environ-
mental and social acceptability. Finally,
the exploitation of eucalyptus for bio-
pv magazines Solar Premium booth at
mass was envisaged, but ultimately set Integrated Energy Plaza, Hannover Messe
aside: In our project the biomass is a lit-
tle excluded, says Lepercq. On the one 24 - 28 April, Hannover, Germany
hand the surface requirements are too
great, and on the other, the combustion is
a source of particles and other polluting
substances. This is completely in line with
Stanford Energys studies in this area.
The 25GW of solar power stations will
occupy an area of 240km
. South of the
Lake of Sainte-Croix, the Canjuers mil-
itary camp was used for the PACA100
Ad-Integrated Energy Plaza.indd 1 01.02.17 18:13

02/2017 |www.pv-magazine.com 43

companies. This is not one or the other,

Photo: Siemens

explains the multi-billionaire entrepre-

neur. If all energy becomes electricity,
then the demand will be multiplied by
three, about one third for transport, one
third for heating, and one third for the
use we are making today. In other words,
there is room for everybody.
Musk focuses a lot on battery storage,
but Lepercq sees even further potential
for hydrogen production. Engie does
not want to be a follower, but a global
leader in the energy transition, he said.
An exciting competition is underway.
Engie has real assets, and a strong moti-
vation, and anchors itself in the context
of real demand from the French, and
more widely from European people, for
solutions allowing a reduction of depen-
dence on imported hydrocarbons. We
need purpose, explains Isabelle Kocher,
speaking in late 2015 on the BFM TV
channel. The authors of PACA100 envis-
age that by 2030 half of the vehicles on
the road in the region (1.3million), will
be fully powered by either electricity or
The innovative PACA100 study poses
An electrolyzer built by Siemens in Mainz, Germany to produce hydrogen from surplus wind energy. the scenario of an energy production
The PACA100 study recommends using similar technology to store energy in southern France. mix focused on solar and hydro, and
an adjustment to the demand, largely
Silicon Valley enjoys proximity to San ate jobs. These industries will be able ensured by the establishment of a hydro-
Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean, an to benefit from prices in the region of gen chain. At this stage it is only a study,
idyllic setting. The valley of Manosque- 30-40/MWh. Theres an economic but there is no doubt that Engies vision
Cadarache, dug by the Durance, is on its boom on the way, exclaims Lepercq. for the PACA region will inspire more
side 15kilometers from the splendid Lake The price of electricity for individ- regions, and other countries across the
of Esparron in continuity with the great uals will be 10% lower than the cur- world. Our generation must act now to
Lake of Sainte-Croix and 50kilometers rent one, and 20% lower factoring in make the Sun the future of our Earth,
from the Mediterranean Sea. the projected rise in the price of tradi- said Isabelle Kocher at the COP 22 in
The CEA is one of the partners of the tional electricity. For the rest of France, Marrakech.
MYRTE test platform in Corsica, where the cost of generating electricity from In The Mysterious Island, a science
solar PV has already been coupled with the hexagonal electro-nuclear power fiction novel by Jules Verne published in
hydrogen storage. plant will rise. A 100% renewable PACA 1875 and which follows 20,000Leagues
region will stimulate tourist activity by Under The Sea, the following question is
Further than Musk attracting in particular eco-tourists asked: And what will be burned instead
The cost of producing large solar from the countries of northern Europe of coal? His answer: Water decomposed
PV on the ground is now around and further afield, who are typically into its constitutive elements and decom-
60/MWh in the PACA region. It sensitive to questions relating to sus- posed, no doubt, by electricity, which will
will be 60% lower by 2030, at about tainable development. then become a powerful and manageable
25/MWh based on a hypothesis in the For Lepercq, the PACA100 approach force, for all the great discoveries, by an
PACA100study. It is a quarter of the cost is part of a process of technical, indus- inexplicable law, seem to be concordant
of solar modules on rooftops, empha- trial, and economic pragmatism: no and complementary to the same. Yes, my
sizes Lepercq. Opting for the most eco- blockchain, no peer-to-peer, no decen- friends, I believe that water will one day
nomical solar makes it possible to invest tralized versus centralized, an opposi- be used as fuel, that the hydrogen and
in the development of inter-seasonal stor- tion that the manager calls inoperative. oxygen which constitute it, used singly
age based on hydrogen. At the presentation of Teslas solar roof or simultaneously, will provide a source
As a result the region will attract the on October 28, 2016 Elon Musk made of inexhaustible heat and light, an inten-
electricity-intensive industries, antici- similar remarks: I think it is important sity that coal can not have, water is the
pates Lepercq, which will further stim- that people understand that the solu- coal of the future. S
ulate the regional economy and gener- tion is both local production and power  Olivier Danilo

44 02/2017 |www.pv-magazine.com

Hannover Messe 2017: steering

Integrated Energy Plaza: pvmagazine is proud to announce that
with our partners Huawei, sonnen, Suntech, S.A.G., innogy and First
Solar, we will be exhibiting at the Integrated Energy Plaza at the 2017
Hannover Messe. Benjamin Low, the Global Director of Hannover
Messe, discusses his vision for the plaza and the exhibition as a whole.

For pvmagazine, the Integrated Energy Plaza represents an important advances, such as the integration of thin film tech-
ideal opportunity to expand media activities beyond regular nology in solar power plants and the raising of system voltage
online coverage and magazine distribution, at Hannover Messe, to 1,500VDC.
the worlds largest industry trade fair. When Hannover Messe Suntech and S.A.G were other companies to identify the excit-
contacted us to discuss opportunities of how to highlight solar ing business opportunities at hand. One of their spokespeople
companies at the show, we were pleased to hear that the inter- told pvmagazine: Wuxi Suntech Power Co. Ltd. is one of the
est in solar and renewables in general has grown so much over global leading solar high quality module manufacturers with
the past few years, said pv magazines CSO Andrea Jeremias. 16years experience. S.A.G. Solar GmbH & Co. KGhas20years
Highly motivated to foster this trend, we developed the idea of system integration experience, and with its new product
of a pvmagazine joint booth called Solar Premium to show- roofINVEST offers a complete system solution to commercial
case major players in the solar industry. In a short period of and industrial customers. The attendance ofSuntech and S.A.G.
time, Hannover Messe and ourselves set up the cooperation, Solar signifies the relevance of offering innovative products and
and we have since identified our solar premium sponsors, who complete solutions within the solar value chain in catering to
are excited to present their future energy concepts at the larg- the global customer demand for green energy.
est industry show of its kind in the world to their specific tar- Chinas Huawei added: Digitalization will play an impor-
get groups, namely energy investors, off-takers and utilities. tant role in the new energy landscape. In large PV systems, data
There was immediate enthusiasm from our partners, who measurement for the plants control system will play an impor-
saw the chance to connect with the established industry to tant role in the new energy landscape. Domestic technology,
explore various business opportunities. In addition to a joint meanwhile, is merging the smart home with solar PV. Huawei,
booth presence, the cooperation also consists of a number of as a leading ICT company, looks forward to presenting our-
networking events. For pvmagazine it is an exciting start, and selves at the biggest industrial fair of this kind in the world.
we see huge potential in bringing solar and the players of the sonnen said: sonnen is more of an energy integrator than a
Energiewende to integrate all energy sectors into one industry pure-play hardware supplier. The customer wants a one-stop
committed to clean energy technology at this event. service, and this is where we are positioning ourselves. Inte-
innogy SE, part of the RWE utility, was one of the grated energy has an important position in the value chain,
first companies we introduced the Hannover Messe con- offering these simple solutions via a single point of control.
cept to, and they responded with immediate interest. U.S. solar firm First Solar sees the value of the Hannover
Bernhard Beck, Founder ofBELECTRIC, which is now part Messe as a platform for showcasing its services. Participating
of innogy SE, sees the Integrated Energy concept reflected in at the Integrated Energy Plaza gives us the opportunity to high-
the strategic concept of innogy: Integrated system technol- light the role that our technology will play in enabling Europes
ogy guarantees the economic success of solar plants. The opti- clean energy future through large-scale solar. With over 4.5GW
mum interaction of all components is required to reduce costs of installed capacity in the region, First Solar remains firmly
and create reliability. In the past BELECTRIC has achieved committed to Europe.

Solar Premium Booth Sponsors

46 02/2017 |www.pv-magazine.com

solar into the energy fast lane

Photo: Hannover Messe

Benjamin Low, Hannover Messe Global Director.

pv magazine: Can you describe the relationship that Han-

nover Messe has had with energy industries over the years?
Low: Hannover Messe is 70years old this year, and has been
taking place since 1947. It has been involved with the energy
industry for many decades. For many years we had separate
shows running concurrently under the umbrella of Hannover
Messe. We had various focal points, including wind, Mobil-
iTec and power plant technology. This has evolved over the last
few years into the leading trade show for integrated energy sys-
tems and mobility. This year we have the two major showcase initatives present-
ing themselves at the Integrated Energy Plaza. On the one side,
What interest have you seen at Hannover Messe, and other there are five projects tendered by the German Federal Minis-
shows that have come out of it in various forms, in renew- try of Economic Affairs and Industry; these are called smart
able energy? energy topics, digital agenda for the energy transition, and SIN-
Over the past three years over 50% of the people who took part TEG. On the other side, the four projects that were tendered by
in our questionnaires were attending Hannover Messe because the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (the
of renewable energy technology. Copernicus Projects for Energy Transition).
What I have noticed, looking at the statistics, is that through
the changes we have seen within the industry, we are also seeing What can the solar companies exhibiting at Hannover Messe
a shift in interest. So things like electric mobility, smart grids, hope to achieve?
and energy services have increased in terms of what people are From the visitors point of view, what Hannover Messe offers
looking for. To give you an idea of the scope, last year we had is an overview of new technologies, and developments in the
96,000visitors to Hannover Messe energy. many energy sectors. In a single day at the fair one can get
an overview of new developments in solar, wind, co-heat and
That is a large number in terms of raw interest. power generation on the one side, and on the other side we have
It is. We have people coming from all over the world. And these the worlds largest exhibition of hydrogen and fuel cell technol-
people dont have time to go to various trade shows. For them ogies. So you get a complete overview as a visitor.
it is about clean energy, and it is not necessarily with a focus on From the exhibitors point of view, you have national and inter-
one source where it comes from; they are often thinking of a national visitors from across the energy and manufacturing
mix. That is the appeal of coming to Hannover Messe. To say I industries; those are the two main visitor groups. On top of
can go to one place it is a one stop shop I can inform myself that we also had 2,600journalists visit the show, as well as an
about all different kinds of technologies, and then have an idea array of national and international politicians in attendance,
about what I want to focus on. especially from Germany.

What is your vision for the Integrated Energy Plaza, and Those are some very impressive numbers. Ive been to some
why is it an important development for Hannover Messe? very large trade shows, but this is something else entirely.
I think our goal is to create something special that can be found Last year we had America as our partner country, we had Barack
nowhere else in the world in terms of trade shows. The idea Obama here. It was a slightly different mood.
behind it is to bring the key players within the various energy
sectors together to discuss and present solutions for the next
phase of the worldwide energy system transformation. The The Solar Premium Booth at the Integrated Energy Plaza will be
movement towards more renewable energy on the grid is going hosted throughout the Hannover Messe 2017, which runs from
to require integrated energy solutions. We want this to be the April2428 in Hannover, Germany.
meeting point for people to talk about energy integration and For more information, visit www.hannovermesse.de
move it forward.

02/2017 |www.pv-magazine.com 47

Arctech solar CEO Guy Rong at the companys offices in New Delhi, India.
Photo: Arctech Solar

Arctech Solar
on track
Interview: As part of its continuing series of Solar CEO
interviews, pvmagazine recently caught up with Arctech
Solar CEO Guy Rong to discuss the stunning growth of the
tracker maker, based in Kunshan, Jiang Su Province, having
expanded into Shanghai, New Delhi, Tokyo, Sacramento,
and Madrid.

pv magazine: Arctech is one of the worlds largest manufac- We are also actively in search of regional partners in order to
turers of solar trackers and mounting structures for utility, localize our manufacturing capacity and after-sales service.
commercial, and residential projects. With several gigawatts
of installations since 2009, how is the company differen- Arctech won the China PV Innovation Award in Decem-
tiating itself from the other leading global solar tracker ber 2015. How has this set the company apart from the other
companies? Chinese tracking companies as you pursue the promising
Guy Rong: Actually Arctech Solars accumulated installation China market?
capacity has reached 10GW up to January. In terms of differen- In the Chinese market, product homogeneity is a common
tiation that allows us to outperform other competitors, I would phenomenon. Arctech Solar has been dedicated to innova-
suggest first that Arctech Solar has an efficient and reliable sup- tion. Our innovative design sets an unprecedented reliabil-
ply chain and service system. In India for instance, punctual ity standard, which gives us a unique competitive edge in the
delivery and quality service are no doubt important contribu- China market.
tors to our success.
Second, as a company with an eight year history and a 10GW The U.S. tracker market is expected to grow in double-dig-
installed base worldwide, Arctech Solar has proved itself to its this year. How will Arctech participate in this leading
be a reliable and enduring brand, as well as a transnational market?
enterprise. According to the recent IHS report, the U.S. tracker market
And last but not least, we have exclusive expertise in both grew by 150% in 2015. It would not surprise me if the growth rate
tracker and fixed-tilt systems. This rich product portfolio allows is double-digit for this year. The U.S. is a country with a mature
us to provide on-demand products and services to our clients market mechanism, where we dont see any type of quick solu-
worldwide. Also, our well-accepted redundant tracking tech- tion fitting in. We will have to follow the natural path for a
nology is an exclusive and unique patent. brand to take root, grow, and blossom.
We will soon take our Arctracker PRO product to the U.S. mar-
The company has emerged as Chinas premier solar tracker ket. At the same time, we are also aware that the U.S. is a mar-
manufacturer. With the world market open to its products, ket that values a local track record. Therefore, we think the early
what is the company strategy for growth within the various performance of the product and the data it generates will matter
geographic regions? greatly. We have also set up an Arctech subsidiary in California
Since we are a technology and product driven company, our and have a local team in place. This allows us to provide local
strategy is always to customize our product and services to service to our U.S. customers. In a word, we are patient and will
cater to the specific demands of regional customers. There is build up the Arctech solar brand in a comprehensive manner.
an ancient Chinese saying that says, follow the trend, which
we interpret as respect the natural, political, economic, and Arctech recently completed the delivery of a 420MW solar
market rules on a geographical basis. structure to Tamil Nadu in India. How does this set the stage
Therefore, the combination of in-demand products and tech- for future company projects in the country?
nology with a respect for regional market rules makes up our The 420MW project in Tamil Nadu was finished in 2015. The
company strategy. To be more elaborate, we set up subsidiaries successful completion of this project demonstrated Arctech
in our key markets, in the hopes of catering to local demand. Solars comprehensive capabilities in product quality, supply

48 02/2017 |www.pv-magazine.com

chain, and services, which has built up local confidence in primary system fails, which enables Arctech Solar trackers to
Arctech Solar. With this milestone project we have completed continue to operate as usual, despite a failure that would bring
more than 600MW of tracker shipments to India. our competitors trackers to a full stop.
It brings the reliability of Arctech Solar trackers to a new bench-
The Southeast Asia market is expected to expand rapidly mark standard, which, to some degree, makes a never stop
this year. Outside of China and Japan, where is Arctech tracking system possible. This relieves the customers from the
focusing its growth plans, and where has initial success fear of production loss due to tracker failure and, as a result,
already been seen? Arctech Solar trackers have become the first choice of many
Apart from China, we have also taken a premier position in tier-1 customers.
India this year. The Indian market is another home market for
us. We also have some projects in development in Japan, and Arctech recently joined the HDPV Alliance, the industry-
are actively looking at expansion in the U.S. and Latin Ameri- wide alliance focused on lowering the cost and increasing
can markets. the performance of solar PV systems. How might this rela-
tionship help the company reduce costs and boost future
The company has also had success in the European market, performance?
including a 38MW project for a U.K. customer. How will the Partnership is a key word in the technology world. Synergy
company continue to compete in the European market? can be created with innovative combinations of different prod-
The U.K. projects are 100MW in total. We regard our European ucts in the supply chain.Arctech is working closely with a host
customers as global strategic partners, with whom we will coop- of companies in the PV industry, including but not limited to
erate to build projects worldwide. those in the HDPV Alliance.For example, we are now work-
ing on a new integrated system including a tracker, inverter,
Trackers have traditionally been associated with complex and modules.
designs, high failure rates, and high repair and maintenance This integration is actually just one of our solutions. It will
expenses. Arctech Solar trackers provide an innovative solu- present the customers with a more reliable system with lower
tion using a redundancy concept of two systems. How has total project cost, by utilizing less material, with faster installa-
this helped sales? tion, and with less complicated communication topology, and
As we all know, there is a failure rate for every electrical com- so on. We will continue to work with our industry partners
ponent, no matter which brand you choose. Redundancy design and are continuously working to provide better solutions for
enables the backup system to be switched on in seconds if the our customers. S Interview by Charles W. Thurston


Photo: Stubli Electrical Connectors

Having worked with the group for 15 years, Multi-Contact will now offer its connection technology under the
Stubli brand name.

Multi-Contact becomes fully installed more than one billion PV

connectors, which currently makes it the
market leader.
Stubli Electrical Connectors The company is keen to keep this posi-
tion, and plans to continue to enhance its
technology to keep it ahead of the curb.
So far, the technology of Stubli Electri-
Old alliances: The 15 year partnership between Multi-Contact and the Stubli Group cal Connectors has been pivotal to the
has now been fully celebrated, as innovative manufacturer of electrical contacts and progression of the solar PV industry, as
the companys connectors have allowed
system solutions Multi-Contact rebrands, and takes on the well-respected Stubli
for highly efficient transfer of energy and
name. guarantee a long service life.
Speaking on the decision to rebrand,
and to be more clearly defined under the
Now well-established as the preemi- tive group of companies, commented umbrella of the Stubli brand, Stubli
nent electrical connector supplier to the CEO of Stubli Electrical Connectors Electrical Connectors said that the
PV industry, Stubli Electrical Connec- and member of the senior management move should help it to ensure access to
tors was founded in Basel, Switzerland, of the Stubli Group Franco Delvecchio. expanded research and development
in 1962. One of its most critical moments We are convinced that this step will resources in the long term. Plus, the com-
came in 2002, when it joined forces with make us an even more effective presence pany said that it is proud to emphasize its
Stubli Group, a provider of mechatronic on the market. Together we can advance long-standing affiliation with the Stubli
solutions in the areas of coupling sys- the development of cutting-edge prod- Group, as Stubli stands for sustainable
tems, acting as the Electrical Connectors ucts and customer-specific solutions to reliability, long-term partnership, tech-
Division. This partnership has enabled an even greater degree. We will now offer nological innovation, and excellent sales
the company to thrive, and to expand its the entire spectrum of connection tech- and service expertise.
presence across various markets. nology, which in such manner is unique And if that is not enough, the com-
So, from Multi-Contact, it becomes on the global market, under the Stubli pany believes that Stubli also offers
Stubli Electrical Connectors, with the brand. the security of access to all the neces-
tag line: A connection for a future of effi- sary resources that the company may
ciency and sustainability. However, the Keeping innovation key to success need, now or in the future. Although the
company was eager to stress that noth- With electrical connectors needed in a name-change is unlikely to affect the gen-
ing else is changing, the technology and whole variety of industries, Stubli Elec- uine mechanics of the company, this new
the products are staying the same, and it trical Connectors has been able to diver- brand may prove to produce a number of
is not a corporate takeover, as it has been sify its range of products and spread to benefits in the future, which can only be
part of Stubli Group for 15years. numerous different markets. One of its a positive outcome for its products that
Taking on the Stubli brand under- key markets is solar PV across the world. will be supplied to the solar market. S
scores our membership in this innova- In fact, the company has already success-  Sam Pothecary

50 02/2017 |www.pv-magazine.com

Photo: Delta
Taiwans Delta recently installed its M50A string inverters at a 50MW solar PV plant in Denmark in yet another
example of the growing use of string at scale.

Bows to the string

Inverter design: It is taken as a given that developers of large-scale solar applications
are increasingly at ease with using string inverters for their projects. But what has
facilitated this evolution in the string inverter component, and what tangible benefits
does string at scale actually offer?

Amid the many fads that burn then is the first name on the industrys lips inverters connected to one single point
quickly fade in the solar industry, a where string-at-scale is concerned, and of control, thereby offering both the per-
handful of hardy technical innovations its FusionSolar solution has been a driv- formance flexibility of string inverters
not only stand the test of time, but soon ing force behind the firms rise to the and the command simplicity of a central
become the accepted norm as PV bar- top of the global inverter supply charts. inverter.
rels boldly along its cost and improve- Huaweis grounding in information and But its not just software that has facili-
ment curve. communications technology (ICT) gave tated this transition towards using string
One recent trend that has been not-so- the company an edge, enabling it to offer at scale. The actual inverters themselves
quietly gaining ground in the large-scale plant owners a very simple yet com- are becoming more powerful, more effi-
sector is the use of string inverters in prehensive and reliable command and cient, and a whole lot cheaper, creating a
favor of central inverters. Now, one might control user interface that seamlessly near-perfect storm of improved perfor-
imagine that the purchase and installa- managed the inverters and delivered mance, increased reliability, and lower
tion of many hundreds of smaller units fingertip-ready monitoring and asset cost.
instead of a single, centrally controlled performance.
point of command may in fact be more A similar approach has now been The role of silicon carbide
fiddly, more expensive, and less attractive adopted by Taiwans Delta and Hua- Silicon carbide (SiC) is enjoying some-
to developers. weis great Chinese inverter rival, Sun- thing of a moment in the solar indus-
But the realities of the current mar- grow, which has recently unveiled its vir- try. First discovered in an attempt to
ket beg to differ. Chinese giant Huawei tual central inverter a series of string produce artificial diamonds, this syn-

52 02/2017 |www.pv-magazine.com

thetic crystalline compound does actu- a small change. If a 100MW solar plant
ally boast a number of properties similar was to be just 1% more efficient, it could At a glance
to those of diamonds, not least a resis- result in more than $2.5million worth
tance to high temperatures and a den- of additional energy being produced over String inverters are becoming a popu-
lar choice for large-scale solar farms, a
sity that delivers impressive strength. the plants lifetime.
trend that is supporting further inno-
SiC is also electrically conductive, and As the power of string inverters vation in the field.
is being increasingly employed as a sub- increases, so too does the weight. But The adoption of silicon carbide inside
stitute for traditional semiconductors. the use of SiC disrupts this power-to- some string inverters is facilitating
For inverter manufacturers such as Sun- weight ratio, creating a tapering effect. higher power densities, reducing
grow and General Electric (GE), SiC is The big change we expect with SiC is losses, increasing efficiencies, and
being used as a replacement component that in the past where we have had what helping to lower installation costs.
Software sophistication also has a big
for the insulated-gate bipolar transistor were classed as 100kW central inverters
role to play, enabling the concept of
(IGBT) stack that regulates the conver- weighing several hundred kilograms, the virtual central inverter.
sion of generated power into grid-com- now we are seeing 125kW string inverters It is this combination of hardware
patible current, the actual inverter part that weigh 7080kg, said IHS Markit innovation and smarter software
of the inverter, if you will. In using SiC, solar research manager Cormac Gilligan. that is driving the march of the string
these companies can not only bring down The main benefit of this is on the labor inverter into previously unheralded
the cost and weight of a typical inverter, side: Fewer workers are required to install territory.
but can build at higher voltages because the inverters, installation is quicker, and
SiC requires fewer parts and has lower there is a reduction in the use of heavy
losses, thus enabling as much as twice machinery. Silicon carbide is not what makes
the power density as with traditional sil- the virtual concept work, but it really
icon designs. Enter Sungrow helps because the smaller and lighter
With fewer losses, an inverter will One of the cornerstones of Sungrows these power modules of the virtual cen-
generate less heat, which in turn means virtual central inverter concept is the tral inverter are, the more practical it
that it can be more easily air-cooled and companys development of a 125 kW, becomes, said Gregg. The whole par-
will often not even require a filter or fan. 1,500volt (V) string inverter. In using sil- adigm of what it means to be a string
Such a topology is by design cheaper and icon carbide, Sungrow was able to ensure inverter has shifted. The industry has
more reliable, and is the path taken by GE that the inverter remained at a relatively retained the name string, but we now
with its LV5+ Solar Inverter, which was light weight, and thus could rightly be have capacities that exceed what was
released in 2016. considered a string inverter based on at one point in time the largest central
When using silicon carbide instead aesthetics alone. Key to this develop- inverter on the planet. This is an amazing
of traditional silicon chips in a solar ment was the utilization of a SiC-based transformation in a short space of time.
inverter, its high power density fea- switching device that could withstand The SiC technology, the high switch-
ture can reduce power losses by up to the higher voltage rating without increas- ing, has reduced mass and volume of the
50%, said GE Power Conversion CCO ing costs, Sungrow Americas Director power conditioning device [the IGBT
Francesco Falco. There are other huge of Application Engineering Allan Gregg stack] to such an extent to enable a new
potential gains to be made through such told pvmagazine. way of thinking.
Photo: Huawei

This 220MW solar plant in Golmud, China, was one of the first large-scale installations to be completed using Huaweis Fusion Solar approach.

The result of Sungrows engineering The most important part of the con- A regular central inverter installed at
efforts is its new virtual central inverter cept in application is the communi- a large-scale array has one data interface.
concept. But Gregg is at pains to point out cations and control, explains Gregg. Sungrows virtual approach employs a
that SiC alone is not the sole driver of this What you really want to have is the com- single interface that communicates with
new evolutionary approach to large-scale plete command and control of multiple every power module installed in the array
plant management, but rather comple- string inverters, so that they will effec- an array that theoretically has no limi-
ments a new software interface designed tively become a power module for the vir- tations in size or scale. The real beauty of
to manage these new technologies. tual central inverter. the virtual central inverter is, if applied in

Huawei launches 1,500V Smart PV Solution at WFES in Abu Dhabi

fans and air conditioning and cancellation of wearing parts, multi

maximum power point tracking (MPPT) design, high EU efficiency
of 98.8%, as well as the low failure rate. Besides, such features can
greatly reduce the operational expenditure (opex) of a PV plant.
Huaweis strong background as an ICT supplier has made a high
level of equipment availability a company-wide standard. Its deep
ICT know-how helped Huawei build more robust inverters. A case
in point is its long experience in developing robust Remote Radio
Units (RRUs) for the telecommunications sector. Pan mentioned
that this track record in RRU development was instrumental in
helping Huawei build fully-enclosed inverters. Sand and dust can
impact the electrical performance, and also increase the risk of
fires in PV power plants. Huaweis full-enclosure design is able to
withstand the harsh sandstorms encountered in many parts of the
MEA region.
Photo: Huawei Another unique feature of the 1,500V inverter is the IP65 design.
Huawei is the first inverter manufacturer to offer a high-power
At Januarys World Future Energy Summit (WFES) in Abu Dhabi inverter with IP65 compliance. The SUN2000-55KTL string inverter
Huawei launched its 1,500V Smart PV Solution for the Middle East can operate well in the high temperatures found across the MEA
Africa (MEA) market. pvmagazine interviewed Paul Pan, Huaweis region. As Pan explains, the embedded chipset has allowed Hua-
General Manager for the Smart PV Plant Business, Middle East & wei to reduce the use of copper inside the inverter and make the
Africa, at the Huawei booth at WFES. Pan is responsible for over inverters design highly compact. The traditional 3-Level Topology
70countries in MEA, where Huawei is already present with offices modulation is replaced by a 5-Level Topology, further boosting the
serving its ICT customer base. inverters efficiency. Pan predicts even more steps in future models,
The fact that Huawei offices and a sales team are already estab- all with the goal of driving-up inverter efficiency, and thereby, plant
lished in the MEA countries provides a good foundation to rapidly yield.
expand its PV business in these markets. With its new 1,500V Pans MEA team was established last year and we can expect Hua-
solution, Huawei is targeting large-scale PV installations, such as wei to grow quickly in this region at a similar pace already evident
utility-scale PV power plants in desert regions in the Middle East in other leading markets where the company is present. Prior to
and Africa. As Pan pointed out in his launch presentation, the new launching the new 1,500V solution, Pan attended the Seventh Ses-
1,500V SUN2000-55KTL string inverter is ideally suitable for desert sion of the IRENA Assembly in Abu Dhabi and came away rather
environments. Huaweis unique natural cooling process does away impressed by the level of interest and funding for clean energy and
with fans and other wearing parts. Besides, since it is not housed solar projects.
in an enclosure as is the case with a typical central inverter design, The industry can expect a good portion of this interest and capital
there is no need to include air conditioning to cool the inverter. to be devoted to reliable Huawei PV equipment and technology
According to Pan, Huaweis string inverter significantly improves over the coming years. S
power yields with several innovative features, like doing away with  Eckhart K. Gouras

54 02/2017 |www.pv-magazine.com

the way Sungrow is recommending, it can

Photo: Sungrow
duplicate the functionality and all capa-
bilities of an actual central inverter, says
Gregg. A 100MW system can be con-
trolled by a virtual central inverter in the
same manner as a central inverter, and in
many ways it will be more cost-effective
in the long term, while also offering easier
repair and replacement, and lower oper-
ations and maintenance [O&M] costs.
Gregg believes that an increasing num-
ber of 50 MW-sized solar installations
will adopt string at scale in 2017, with
gradually larger and larger systems being
built this way, as the industry grasps the
opportunities inherent in Sungrows
and others string-based approach.
The larger the capacity, the fewer string
inverters you need to make it a vir-
tual central inverter. The scale starts to
become more appropriate for large-scale
utility systems when you employ 125kW
in a single 1,500V string inverter.
Central inverters have themselves By using silicon carbide to build its 125kW, 1,500volt string inverter, Sungrow has been able to keep the
become much more amenable to com- inverters weight relatively low, enabling ease of installation.
mand and control interfaces in recent
years, but Greggs point that any failure tively easy and cost-effective to replace a put it on the pad with conduits stick-
of a central inverter brings a multi-mega- string inverter, with most able to be eas- ing up. Now, I can hang my string in a
watt loss of output is valid, and likely to ily swapped out for a new one in a little much more cost-effective way. You can
strike a chord with solar plant operators under an hour. then sub-group them, and control them
keeping an increasingly sharp eye on With a string inverter that weighs from one point, and so from a command
their bottom line. 6070kg, I can mount it on the mod- and control standpoint there is virtu-
While it is perhaps accurate to say that ule array structure, says Gregg. I dont ally no difference. All these power mod-
a string inverter is more likely to fail than have to pour concrete, or bring in lots of ules will respond to my command at the
a central inverter or rather, many hun- steel. I dont have to rent a crane to lift same time. Its like Im talking to a cen-
dreds of string inverters installed have my central inverter platform off the flat- tral inverter, but Im actually talking to
more potential points of failure than a bed truck. They might even have to build 10 or 20strings that are acting as power
handful of central inverters it is rela- a road into my site to deliver that and modules. S Ian Clover


Incoming SEIA President and CEO Abigail Hopper has held a series of
Photo: U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management

high-profile posts, including advising Baltimore Governor Martin OMalley

on energy issues.

A new era for U.S.


PV landscape: An interview with SEIA President and CEO

Abigail Hopper. It is a new era for the Solar Energy Industries
Association (SEIA) and the United States. Fresh on the
heels of the election of climate denier Donald Trump, who
disparages solar and wants to bring back the coal industry,
SEIA has appointed Abigail Ross Hopper as its President and
CEO, to fill the power vacuum left by the departure of long-
time CEO Rhone Resch. A few weeks after the appointment
was made official pvmagazine caught up with Hopper,
to test the waters regarding her priorities at SEIA and her
thoughts about the U.S. solar industry and policy under the
new presidential administration.

pv magazine: What are your top priorities as the new leader SEIA has always emphasized that it works across the aisle
of SEIA? with Republicans. What does that look like under a Trump
Abigail Hopper: I have three top priorities. One is ensuring Administration and with the current congress?
that the tax credits that were put in place a little over a year ago It is important that we work with both parties because what we
remain in place, and that there is no change in this federal pol- are talking about is job creation and infrastructure. So many
icy, or any other changes on the federal side. The implications Americans are asking for solar, and they are asking for it to
of maintaining a steady policy environment will be important. be put on their homes and businesses. Our role is to educate
The second priority is to really focus on the states. As you know, to have a clear communication with consumers and politi-
so much of solar policy really happens at the state level. It will be cians alike about the benefits that it can bring to their home
important to really make sure that we are active in those states and their grid.
that are undergoing policy changes, to make sure that there is
policy to really allow for the growth of the solar industry. We now have a U.S. president who has denied the science
Third, I feel really strongly about ensuring the diversification behind climate change and whose attitudes towards renew-
of our workforce. We employ over 200,000folks in the solar able energy are a combination of blistering ignorance and
industry, and making sure that this looks like our population hostility. How do you deal with such an individual in the
is a big priority for me. And also to ensure that a diverse cus- White House?
tomer set can benefit, including people in urban environments I would go back to education. Solar has such an incredibly pow-
that might not now have access to install solar on their houses. erful story to tell. As I said, there are more than 200,000Amer-
icans employed by the solar industry in the United States. The
In your mind, what are the odds of a repeal of the ITC? last data that I saw said that there are more people employed by
I am not going to call the odds on this. I am cautiously optimis- the solar industry than the fossil fuel industry.
tic that the tax credits that were put in place will stay in place. If you look, there are over a million solar energy systems
It was a bipartisan agreement, and legislators understand that installed in the United States that is over one million cus-
there are people in their communities who benefit from solar. tomers that have chosen to install solar.
Thats the view here in Washington, and it is important to It really is consistent with what our new President is espousing,
remind our legislators of the value that solar brings and how to focus on investment, to focus on infrastructure, and to allow
important it is to their constituents. people freedom of choice.

56 02/2017 |www.pv-magazine.com

As you look at the policy landscape, what do you see as the Wherever there is the opportunity to grow solar, we will cer-
most critical policy discussions? tainly be active. It is our role to figure out how to capitalize on
I think that one of the most important themes in the solar this, and the combination of our national policy experience
industry at the moment is looking out at the future, and figur- and the on-the-ground expertise of local chapters can be very
ing out how it is that the solar industry can remain sustainable. fruitful.
How do we continue to grow and how do we achieve this with
the grids that we have today? Does SEIA have a role to play beyond traditional policy
We are only now beginning to understand the benefits that solar advocacy?
systems bring to the grid, either individually or as a pool. A I think that there are a couple of different ways in which we do
lot of the conversations at the state level are on how you value have a role to play that goes beyond traditional policy advocacy,
the electricity produced by solar, and continue to allow for the including the work that we are doing around consumer protec-
growth of solar markets. tion. I think that developing best practices and doing educa-
tion with state legislatures to ensure that we have very strong
With so much clean energy policy happening at the state consumer protection in the solar industry are both highly
level, what are SEIAs plans regarding state chapters, and important.
the connection between these state chapters and the national Thinking about how we communicate regarding the benefits
organization? of solar is different than policy, and I think the communica-
I had the benefit of meeting the head of the California SEIA last tion aspect is important. And as you know we do a fair amount
Friday, and what I anticipate is that like the other state chapters of research, so that we know what the current state of the solar
we will work together. We are primarily aligned in our inter- industry is, and that will definitely continue.
ests to grow solar, and to provide a clear path forward for our
industry. Is there anything else we havent talked about that you think
is important to our readers?
As I look at the United States I see the proliferation of solar We talked a lot about priorities number one and two, but I
beyond a few leading markets to more and more states, would reiterate priority number three: Diversity is incredibly
and in some of these I have not seen SEIA being very active. important to make sure that solar is accessible to all parts of
What are SEIAs plans for states where you do not have state our society so that the benefits of solar can be shared by all
chapters and have not had much of a presence to date? Americans. S  Interview by Christian Roselund





Your Reliable Encapsulant Material for Solar Modules

Hangzhou First PV Material Co Ltd.

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Photo: Schmid
Equipment manufacturer Schmids DW Tex texturing machine, which removes saw damage from diamond wire
sawing of multicrystalline wafers.

What comes after PERC?

Upgrade cycles: Having conducted extensive research along the PV value chain,
and numerous interviews with equipment suppliers and PV manufacturers, Gtz
Fischbeck, CEO at Smart Solar Consulting, shares his conclusions regarding future
investment in novel cell technologies, and the outlook for addition of cell capacities.

During the current investment cycle of gain market share over multicrystalline ments came on the back of unprecedented
the solar value chain, which picked up cell technologies. It doesnt look like we growth in PV power being deployed in
in 2014 and is still ongoing, there is one will see a significant resurgence of the China. According to official Chinese sta-
technology that clearly dominates the interest in selective emitter technology tistics some 34 GW of PV power was
investment decisions: PERC technology. any time soon. Other emerging technol- grid-connected in 2016, more than dou-
With the PERC upgrade cycle still in ogies like diamond wire sawing of multi- ble the 15GW added in 2015, and more
full swing, as several announcements of crystalline wafers and novel/improved than triple the 10GW that were installed
equipment supplier Meyer Burger for new metallization technologies will see steady in 2014. Global PV power additions in
PERC upgrades in January 2017 high- growth, albeit at a much slower rate than 2016 amounted to some 76GW up from
lights, the question for the solar industry the PERC technology adoption. Hetero- 55GW in 2015.
and PV equipment manufacturers in par- junction (HJT) cell production lines will Given that in November 2016 China
ticular arises, why is PERC technology so only start to gain market share once the lowered its 2020 target for installed
popular what will come next? industry enters a new capacity cycle and capacity from 150GW to 110GW, most
Based on our research, we can draw six PERC technology has fully matured. The market observers believe that China will
main conclusions: We expect to see sig- arguments for our findings are as follows: curtail further installations in the next
nificantly fewer new capacity additions 23years so as not to surpass the reduced
announced from 20172019, compared Capacity additions will target by too significant a margin. As of
to 2014 through 2016. For the next two substantially slow down the end of 2016 China had registered
years PERC upgrades will dominate cell The past two years saw more than 50GW 77GW of grid-connected PV power, leav-
technology investments and monocrys- of cell capacity additions/technology ing only 33GW of new PV additions for
talline cell technologies will continue to upgrades announced. These announce- the next three years combined in order to

58 02/2017 |www.pv-magazine.com

reach the lowered target. While emerg-

Photo: Trina Solar

ing markets in Latin America, South-
east Asia, and the Middle East are pro-
jected to exhibit high growth figures in
PV installations in the next three years,
none of these markets yet have the size or
the maturity that they could compensate
for a significant shortfall in Chinese PV
demand. Assuming that cumulative PV
installations in China in the years 2017
through 2019 will not surpass 70 GW,
there is a strong argument that global PV
additions in this period will remain more
or less flat in the range of 70 to 80GW
This will leave the global PV indus-
try once again facing severe oversup- Trina Solars Duomax production line in Changzhou, China.
ply issues seriously limiting demand for
any additional manufacturing capacities. try has implemented during the current observed on multicrystalline PERC cells
In fact it is very likely that a number of investment cycle. still persist.
capacity additions announced in the past Cell manufacturers benefit from the Interestingly, Suntech made an
12 months will get shelved once again. fact that PERC technology represents an announcement in January that, based on
evolutionary upgrade, meaning they can a technology co-developed by Suntech
(Mono-)PERC for higher efficiency draw on all of their previous production and the University of New South Wales
By the end of 2016 some 15GW of PERC experience and are not forced to mas- in Australia, this degradation can be
cell production capacities were deployed sively change their production steps. fully contained. Yet the announcement
worldwide, of which more than 85% What makes the PERC upgrade even by Suntech did not disclose if or when the
were for monocrystalline cells. A fur- more compelling is the fact that efficiency Chinese tier-1 manufacturer planned on
ther 20GW of PERC upgrades/capacity improvements of around 0.8% 1.0% introducing modules with multicrystal-
additions have already been announced, absolutely can be reached with this tech- line PERC cells to the market. We have
so we can expect close to 40GW of PERC nology, and that it does not require any reached out to the company asking these
cell production capacities to be available relevant adjustments in the module man- questions, but have not received a reply
in 2019. ufacturing step. by the time of going to press.
The charm of the PERC technology So far PERC technology has been For the time being Hanwha Q Cells
lies in the fact that it lends itself both to mainly implemented for monocrystal- and REC remain the only leading inte-
upgrading existing cell manufacturing line cell production lines, as concerns grated solar manufacturers that commer-
lines and is also the technology of choice regarding the elevated temperature cially offer modules with multicrystalline
for capacity additions that the indus- light-induced degradation that has been PERC cells.
Photo: Hanwha Q Cells

PERC production technology at Hanwha Q Cells recently opened fab in Seoul, South Korea.

Monocrystalline (PERC) cells grow these developments we see strong indi- even on highly doped surfaces, reducing
their market share cations that monocrystalline technol- the need to selectively dope the front side
Over the past two years the price gap per ogies continue to gain momentum and surface of the solar cell.
watt between p-type monocrystalline thus market share.
and multicrystalline wafers has fallen Other technological
considerably, and is now in the range of Selective emitter technology does developments
0.0150.020/W. With the price gap not appear to be the next big thing Among other technologies pushing for-
for monocrystalline wafers narrowing With PERC technology minimizing the ward, we would highlight two technolog-
and PERC technology on multicrystal- loss contribution from the rear surface ical developments that we believe stand
line wafers still being hampered by seri- of the solar cell, and gradually becoming good chances of capturing increasing
ous degradation issues, it comes as no the next quasi-standard, (mono) crystal- traction over the next two to three years.
surprise that monocrystalline cell tech- line cell technology as we predict, it is One of these technologies is diamond
nology has been gaining ground. One of straightforward to assume that R&D in wire sawing of multicrystalline wafers.
the leading global wafer manufacturers, the solar industry will once again shift For monocrystalline wafers diamond
LONGi Silicon Materials, has responded towards tackling the loss mechanisms wire sawing has already established itself
to the increasing market demand for attributable to the front surface. In 2010 as the new standard for state-of-the-art
monocrystalline wafers, and announced and 2011 many equipment vendors pro- production facilities. The higher through-
significant capacity additions. In January moted selective emitter technology as the put of the wafer saws and the lower kerf
2017 LONGi disclosed that it had started technology of choice, in order to reduce losses are convincing enough arguments
construction on a 5 GW monocrystal- losses at the front contact of the solar for switching to this technology.
line ingot facility in Lijiang, southwest- cell. Ultimately the gains (at the module The adoption of diamond wire saw-
ern China, together with its two joint level) proved to be limited, as much of the ing for multicrystalline wafers has been
venture partners Trina Solar and polysil- increased short wavelength sensitivity of hampered by two factors: yield issues
icon maker Yongxiang. Production start the solar cell achieved through applying based on more frequent wafer dam-
for the new facility is scheduled for the selective emitter technologies did not age when cutting wafers from multi-
first half of 2018. fully translate into higher energy yields crystalline ingots with diamond wires,
Similarly to Trina Solar, SolarWorld is of the modules, because both the front and costly surface treatments required
shifting more and more of its capacities glass of the module, as well as the encap- in order to achieve the desired surface
over to monocrystalline technologies. sulant, only exhibit limited transparency topology for maximum cell efficiency.
Even Hanwha Q Cells, one of the leading for this part of the solar spectrum. While improved crystallization pro-
multicrystalline proponents in the solar In the meantime, suppliers of front cesses have been able to reduce the yield
industry, is adding more emphasis on its side metallization pastes have made sig- issues to acceptable levels, there are still a
monocrystalline activities, stepping up nificant progress with their recipes the number of surface treatment approaches
its investments in this area. In light of new pastes achieve a good electric contact to tackling the sawing damages that are

60 02/2017 |www.pv-magazine.com

being investigated in R&D labs and on Given the very limited growth expec- fact that for heterojunction solar cells
pilot lines competing to provide the most tations for PV demand in the next two novel interconnection technologies at the
cost efficient process step. to three years, the solar industry is likely module level (i.e. Smartwire and the like)
In a future issue of pvmagazine we to end up facing another oversupply sce- are being promoted as necessary to reap
will take a closer look at competing nario, which may last all the way through all of the advantages that heterojunction
approaches for the surface treatment and 2019. As we have already pointed out, the cell technology provides, further impede
will highlight which technologies from key determinant to the extent of the over- the adoption of heterojunction. It would
our point of view have the best chances supply scenario is the market size for PV require substantial investments for both
of reaching the cost and performance installations in China in the next three ingot manufacturers and module manu-
requirements set by the industry. years. Unless China keeps adding more facturers to overcome these constraints,
The other field of continued research than 30GW of PV power each year up which they are not eager to make in these
tackles the front side metallization pro- until 2019 we believe there is hardly any uncertain times. Therefore we conclude
cess. More than six years ago many chance for the photovoltaics industry to that widespread adoption of heterojunc-
experts predicted that screen printing avoid having to go through another over- tion cell technology will not occur before
technology would soon be superseded supply period. the oversupply woes can be mitigated.
by superior technologies, such as ink- In order for the industry to achieve The only other scenario we could envi-
jet, laser deposition, or plating technol- satisfactory utilization rates of their sion that might lead to a faster adoption
ogies. As of today screen printing is still new production facilities, global annual of this technology would be if one or two
the method of choice. The competing demand would have to expand to around tier-1 manufacturers opted to leapfrog the
technologies all proved to exhibit seri- 90GW in 2017 and beyond. If Chinese PERC upgrade route and invest directly
ous disadvantages compared to screen annual PV installations were to fall by in heterojunction technology. Currently,
printing when it came to production around 10 GW compared to the levels we see no indications that anything like
yield and cost, the ultimate determinants reached in 2016, we dont expect to see this could be in the works for the market.
that decide whether or not a technology these demand levels reached globally In summary, in terms of business suc-
is suitable for industrial production. The before 2020. cess for the photovoltaic equipment ven-
screens, the printers, and particularly In such uncertain times, when price dors the emphasis in 2017 and 2018 is to
the pastes have seen such significant competition once again leaves all the PV undertake everything necessary to min-
improvements over the past six years that manufacturers scrambling for cash, the imize the level of order push outs or,
the bar for competing metallization pro- investment risk of adopting new hetero- even worse, order cancellations. We see
cesses has been continuously raised. junction cell technology appears to be a high risk that order cancellations might
Yet we have heard of promising results rather high. exceed new orders in 2017, in particular
both from plating approaches and extru- Even established cell manufacturers once the grace period for PV installations
sion technologies. At the pilot line stage with many years of experience in mono- in China at 2016 FIT rates comes to an
these appear to yield the required advan- crystalline cell production have to make end by the middle of 2017. While we do
tages, making them serious contenders to massive changes to their production pro- know of a number of interesting novel
challenge the reign of screen printers for cesses when adopting heterojunction technologies that are already being eval-
the front side metallization process. production technology. The switch over uated beyond the pilot line stage, we are
to heterojunction cells requires a large not holding our breath expecting a simi-
Heterojunction will have to wait investment in completely new produc- lar breakthrough of any of these technol-
Besides PERC technology, heterojunction tion lines, without providing the option ogies within the next two to threeyears as
is being promoted as the next big thing. to upgrade existing tools. The limited we have seen recently with PERC technol-
We dont believe its time has come quite availability of n-type monocrystalline ogy over the past three years. S
yet for a number of reasons: wafers at this point in time, as well as the  Gtz Fischbeck


There are incremental improvements [within mainstream PV] and those are
Photos: Von Ardenne

all actually addressable with that tool [the Scala and XEAnova].

interest in HJT

Heterojunction equipment supply: Germanys Von

Ardenne boasts 40years of sputtering experience in the
industry, and has recently developed the Scala tool to
bring greater improvements to HJT cell production. Kristin
Ldemann, VP of Crystalline PV spoke to pvmagazine
about the tool, and the future of HJT.

pv magazine: Von Ardenne has developed its Scala tool for Looking at the c-Si market at the moment, there has been a
HJT cell production. What was the intention in developing huge wave of investment into PERC. Do you believe that HJT
this tool? is the next logical step?
Kristin Ldemann: The intention was to have a platform that For the moment, HJT is the workhorse for some sales. We
was more dedicated to R&D and pilot production purposes. are in contact with the IBC guys, but as you know there are not
This enables Von Ardenne, and also our customers, to develop too many players in that part of the market. Those are the two
new technologies and provide proof of concept or principle. It market segments that we are addressing with our tools already.
is a vehicle on our side to start enabling us and our customers We are looking into potential developments within the main-
to improve processes and support R&D. stream, the PERC cell, and what comes after PERC. We are not
yet there, but the market is not yet ready to receive another tech-
How would you say it has been received by the market? nology improvement. So there will be another wave, perhaps
I would say that it has certainly gathered interest. I cannot say three or four years from now, and this is something we address
that at the moment there has been a tremendous increase in at the moment on the R&D level.
sales from the Scala tool, but it does enable us to speak with cus-
tomers that are not yet investing in very large production vol- Von Ardenne has supplied tooling for some 1.3GW of HJT
ume. It is certainly a must have at the moment to talk to cus- production. Are you seeing more HJT flowing through into
tomers and to support these potential investments. production now?
We will use the Scala for our own purposes for more R&D- We have this tool that we introduced more than two years ago,
related projects, to incorporate the tool into institutes in Ger- the XEAnova. This is the production platform for HJT cells.
many, and to use them for further technological development. This tool, like the Scala, is used for the TCO layers within the
Certainly we feel that we have some interest in that people are HJT cells, as well as, if necessary, the contact layers.
not only talking about very big steps into new technologies. So
people are definitely attracted to the tool, even though I cannot You are cooperating with Ideal Energy, a supplier of PECVD
say there have been very big sales. equipment for HJT production. What do you make of the
prospects for atomic layer deposition (ALD) tools to carry
What are the precise applications that drive manufacturers out the amorphous silicon (a-Si) layer?
and research bodies to deploy the Scala in c-Si production? I think that ALD is more commonly used in PERC applica-
It is independent to the technology segment within c-Si. It can be tions. As far as I understand, it is not really addressing much
used for HJT production, in particular for the transparent con- market share. The most common way to do the process step
ductive oxide (TCO) and metallization layers. It can be used for in HJT is more often with PECVD. But for the layers we are
pure metallization that is more interesting for back contact (IBC) approaching, the TCO and the metal layers, sputtering is the
cells. It can also be used for any development that is looking best solution.
more into the evolutionary technology development for main-
stream PV. So it is not yet used for anything that is state-of-the- What kind of performance in production are you seeing
art within the mainstream, but there are incremental improve- from the HJT lines you are working on. Is the throughput
ments, and those are all actually addressable with that tool. and performance required to be competitive being delivered?

62 02/2017 |www.pv-magazine.com

Von Ardenne has already supplied one of its Scala tools to Chinese PECVD developer Ideal Energys pilot line in Shanghai.

The most challenging stage within HJT is the PECVD process There was a lot of cell capacity added, particularly in South-
itself, to build up the actual junction with the a-Si layer. This is east Asia. What are your expectations for 2017?
the tricky part within the HJT solar cell. It is a good question, because there is an increasing interest in
The layers that Von Ardenne is working with are on top of that, HJT itself. A lot of companies are investigating those cell con-
and if there is a good HJT underneath then we can provide the cepts. However, on the other side, the big overcapacity that has
TCO and metallization. For the amorphous silicon (a-Si) layer, been built up over the last two years with mainstream technol-
the process can be tricky, there are some good players out there ogy is also affecting those with an interest in HJT. This affects
that can produce good cell structures, but this is not our core the pricing in general for PV modules. And it may affect busi-
business. ness cases of those that would go into HJT, so that we see some
delays in project realization, and it is becoming increasingly
And what is the major challenge with the a-Si layer? difficult to find capital for new projects.
The process parameters need to be controlled very closely There is a delay in investment spends in c-Si all over the mar-
to create the right morphology of the c-Si and a-Si layers. ket, and this also affects the HJT part.
Another challenge is maintaining the cleanliness of those lay-
ers, because it is intrinsic and there are differently doped lay- What about new players we do hear HJT being described
ers. Then, of course, comes production and process reliability, as a technology that is ideal for new entrants. Is there still
and reproducibility. activity there?
There can be quite a narrow process window and that needs Yes, definitely.
to be found in a repeatable fashion in a production tool that
can also be a major challenge. However, I have to note that I In which parts of the world?
am not really the expert on the PECVD side of the HJT pro- Mainly in Asia. As you know, there is something going on in
duction tooling. the U.S., but I dont see too much from there. The new interest
is mainly driven from within Asia. S Interview by Jonathan Gifford

Photo: Cephoto, Uwe Aranas/CC-BY-SA-3.0

TV Rheinlands headquarters in Cologne, Germany. The institute is a leading certification authority for module

Climate for technology c admium telluride (CdTe) module types

from twodifferent manufacturers, and
three amorphous silicon (a-Si) module
types from three different sources. The
Module performance: Over the years researchers at TV Rheinland have tested five different c-Si module types com-
and evaluated thousands of PV modules. A field study by the institute measures prise three polycrystalline PV modules
with different front glasses, one mono-
the performance of 15 different PV module technologies under different climate
crystalline module type with heterojunc-
conditions. Gtz Fischbeck, CEO at Smart Solar Solutions, takes us through the results. tion cells, and one monocrystalline mod-
ule type with back-contacted n-type cells.
The graph (top right) illustrates why it
TV Rheinland is one of the leading land have put these hypotheses under a is extremely useful from the perspective
quality test institutes and certification rigorous test. The energy yields of 15dif- of the ultimate owner of the PV instal-
authorities for PV module manufactur- ferent photovoltaic module technologies lation to consider a well-defined mod-
ers. The set of parameters derived from have been measured over more than one ule performance ratio before making an
their tests serve to characterize the mod- year at four different locations (Germany, investment decision as to which module
ules and form the basis for energy yield Italy, India, and Arizona) corresponding technology to favor for a given site.
estimates of solar modules under field to four specific climate zones. For each The table summarizes the annual
conditions for periods of 20 years and module and each measurement instance module performance ratio (MPR) for all
more. Some of the individual tests per- a module performance ratio (MPR) has 15module types at the four different loca-
formed only take a few seconds, while been calculated that expresses the ratio tions. In the case of Chennai (India) and
others (e.g. climate chamber-related of the measured energy output of the Tempe (Arizona, USA), the two hottest
tests) take days or weeks to perform, but module in comparison to the (expected) test locations in the sample, the normal-
all are executed under well-controlled energy output of the module under stan- ized annual energy yield varies by more
laboratory conditions. dard test conditions (STC), taking into than 20% between the best and the worst
A precondition that is required to allow account the influence of module temper- suited module technology for the specific
reliable energy yield estimates based on ature, low irradiance conditions, spec- sites. In the more moderate climate zones
the measured laboratory results is the tral and angular effects, and soiling. This (Ancona, Italy and Cologne, Germany)
assumption that the derived characteris- analysis is based on an independent char- the normalized annual energy yield var-
tic parameters are stable over time, and acterization of the modules in the labo- ies by 12% and 14% respectively between
that the test conditions adequately repli- ratory, combined with site-specific data the best and the worst suited module
cate the field conditions under which the accumulated during operation. technology for these locations.
modules operate over their lifetime. The 15different PV module types tested One has to keep in mind that these
at the four different sites are comprised MPR-results are normalized to the nom-
How good are these assumptions? of five different crystalline silicon (c-Si) inal power of the modules so that the
In an extensive field study over several module types from three different ven- effective module efficiency and module
years the researchers Markus Schweiger dors, four CIGS module variants from power rating does not influence the rank-
and Werner Herrmann of TV Rhein- four different manufacturers, three ing according to MPR. This is helpful to

64 02/2017 |www.pv-magazine.com

Graphic: pv magazine/Harald Schtt

Module productivity ratio by location & type

Sources: TUEV Rheinland

a-Si 3

a-Si 2

a-Si 1
- faulty -

CdTe 3

CdTe 2

CdTe 1





c-Si 5

c-Si 4 Chennai
c-Si 3 Ancona
c-Si 2 Cologne

c-Si 1

0 MPR 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0,9 1.0

the extent that modules are typically sold most important variant when it comes to Of the four test sites analyzed by TV
on a price per watt basis. The site-specific selecting module technologies for differ- Rheinland, Chennai is the closest to the
MPR expresses the percentage of power ent climate zones. For hot climate zones equator, and therefore exhibits the low-
harvested over one year compared to like Tempe and Chennai the lower tem- est air mass of all test sites. The lower air
the expected energy harvest in the same perature coefficient of CdTe modules mass in Chennai explains why all mod-
period if the module were under standard yields an improvement in MPR on the ule technologies exhibit a positive devia-
test conditions. order of 200 to 300basis points in com- tion in MPR when compared to standard
On the other hand, as module prices parison to crystalline silicon modules. test conditions.
have come down to levels between 0.35 Second in relevance for the differences A further consequence of the lower air
($0.38) and 0.45/W ($0.49) the non- in MPR between the various module mass in Chennai is the fact that at this lat-
module related costs such as BOS, labor, technologies for applications in countries itude the irradiation spectrum is skewed
permissions, financing, and land-lease close to the equator is the spectral mis- towards shorter wavelengths compared
play an ever more important role in the match between the solar spectrum at the to standard test conditions, because less
overall calculation. Most of the non- test site versus the reference solar spec- of the blue light gets absorbed in the
module related costs do not directly scale trum at 1.5atmospheres. atmosphere on its way to the modules.
with the nominal power of the installa- Advertisement
tion. Therefore, high efficiency mod-
ules can ultimately still prove to be the
most cost efficient solution for a given
site, even if they are more expensive on a
pv magazines Solar Premium booth at
/Wp basis and have a (slightly) lower Integrated Energy Plaza, Hannover Messe
MPR than competing modules.
24 - 28 April, Hannover, Germany
How do different technologies
stack up?
Not surprisingly, the most important loss
contribution to the MPR is the difference
in module temperature under field con-
ditions versus standard test conditions of
25C. Therefore, the temperature coeffi-
cient and the operating temperature of
a given technology is indeed the single
Ad-Integrated Energy Plaza.indd 2 01.02.17 18:14

02/2017 |www.pv-magazine.com 65

Measuring the low irradiance behavior this method is that all disturbing effects
Photo: TV Rheinland

of the four selected CIGS module tech- related to the effective irradiance reach-
nologies under laboratory conditions ing the cell can be neglected. This means
confirmed that indeed these modules that spectral effects, angular mismatch,
exhibit a worse low light performance and soiling are irrelevant for the I-V
than both the crystalline silicon modules curve translation to standard test condi-
as well as the CdTe modules analyzed in tions, and an accurate measure of rela-
the TV research scope. tive performance changes of open circuit
The overall relevance of the low light voltage (VOC), fill factor (FF) and maxi-
performance factor varies significantly mum power (PMAX) with less than 1%
from climate zone to climate zone. uncertainty can be achieved under out-
Where Tempe, Arizona has the high- door measurement conditions using the
est direct irradiation of the different test running data acquisition without having
sites with low light contributing only 5% to track the sun.
to the overall annual energy yield, this Measuring the module types for more
value almost doubles to 9% for Chennai than a year at the four different test sites
and almost quadruples for Cologne at with high temporal resolution has yielded
19%. For Ancona the measured low light a number of interesting results:
contribution to the overall annual energy
yield amounts to 12%. 1. Crystalline silicon modules:
Both the angular mismatch of the The performance of the tested crystal-
module orientation towards the imping- line PV modules has remained stable for
ing light rays as well as the influence of the period of investigation. Observed
soiling on the modules energy yield are degradation rates have been below the
geography-related factors and thus affect measurement uncertainty of the method
all the different cell technologies equally (1%) after more than two years of expo-
(they are an external factor limiting the sure. The heterojunction-based samples
Markus Schweiger, researcher at the TV overall amount of solar irradiation reach- exhibit a slight reduction of the initial
Rheinland. Along with Werner Herrman, Markus ing the active cells). power (<1%/year) for all locations.
has conducted an extensive field study into the
performance of PV modules. Aggregated over the five different con-
tributors to the performance deviation 2. CdTe thin film modules:
between standard test conditions and CdTe module types 1 and 2 exhibited a
Thus the narrow band spectral sensitiv- actual field data, CdTe modules exhibit strong performance increase during an
ity of CdTe solar cells in the short wave- the highest MPR at all four test sites. initial phase (one week to several months
length range explains why the improve- CIGS modules as well as c-Si modules depending on location) followed by a
ment in MPR for CdTe modules in exhibit very comparable ratios when slight but steady performance decrease.
Chennai outperforms the improvement aggregated over the four different sites. The time scale of this initial behav-
in MPR for CIGS modules by 250basis ior appears to depend on temperature,
points and the improvement in MPR for Long-term stability longest for Italy (beginning of exposure
c-Si modules by 370basis points. All of the above-analyzed dependencies was during winter), and shortest in India
The third most relevant factor distin- of the module power as a function of dif- (approximately oneweek). For the mod-
guishing the MPRs of different mod- ferent environmental influences have ule in India it was verified that within the
ule technologies is their effectiveness to been normalized to the standard power first weeks of exposure the FF increases
convert light to electricity under low light output of the module at the moment by about 8% and VOC decreases by about
conditions (<200 W/m2). Once again of measurement. This is necessary to 4% resulting in an increase of PMAX by
CdTe outshines both the CIGS and c-Si achieve the sensitivity required to assess 4%. For the locations in USA and India
technologies evaluated in this sample the relative loss contributions with a suf- a slow degradation by less than 2% per
with respect to their low light behavior, ficiently low margin of error. year is observable, after an initial consol-
being the only technology that does not But what if the overall power rating idation phase.
suffer a negative MPR contribution from of the modules is not stable over time In contrast, for locations in Germany
its low light performance at any of the and how can you possibly measure this and Italy no overall degradation is dis-
four different locations. unambiguously? cernible yet annual modulations in maxi-
The result that crystalline silicon mod- The approach to measuring this effect mum output power can be observed with
ules outperform CIGS modules regarding is called self-referencing because the maximum values being reached during
low light performance in three out of four module itself is used as the irradiance summertime.
test sites somewhat contradicts common sensor. Assuming both the short circuit For CdTe module type3 the consoli-
wisdom, as it was a widespread belief that current at standard test conditions and dation phase is visible only for locations
thin film technologies in general exhibit its temperature coefficient remain electri- in Germany and Italy. The degradation
a better low light performance than crys- cally stable, the self-referencing method is stronger than for the other types of
talline technologies. can be applied. The huge advantage of CdTe modules. For the locations in

66 02/2017 |www.pv-magazine.com

India and USA two phases of degrada- USA) was measured. The degradation is dation phases can be distinguished from
tion are observable, a fast one for four to considerably smaller for the location in long-term trends. The consolidation of
eightmonths followed by a slower deg- Germany. CIGS modules can imply an increase
radation rate. In summary all thin film PV modules or a decrease of efficiency depending on
exhibit a metastable behavior which is the manufacturer.
CIGS thin film modules: key factor influencing their energy yield, The spread of time constants for con-
The outdoor data of CIGS PV modules especially during the first year of outdoor solidation phases of different module
from different manufacturers reveal a exposure. The magnitude of the observed types range up to almost a year, mak-
great diversity. The diversity had already effect reaches from +7% increases to ing standardization of light-soaking
become apparent in the laboratory when 14% relative power loss in the first year sequences for module pre-conditioning
the spectral response signals, low irradi- of outdoor exposure. The results indi- difficult, especially in view of the great
ance behavior, and temperature coeffi- cate a superposition of different physical diversity found for samples of different
cients revealed great differences between effects active in the various module types. manufacturers.
manufacturers and high production Furthermore, the observed behav- The high resolution and high accuracy
tolerances. ior is both quantitatively and qualita- measurements conducted by TV Rhe-
For CIGS modules of type1 a fast deg- tively different even for modules of the inland reveal that even established tech-
radation is observable for approximately same technology. However, data collected nologies such as CdTe exhibit variations
sixmonths at all locations. Afterwards for the same module type (i.e. from the in their longtime behavior which are not
the output power stabilizes. In mod- same manufacturer) at different locations yet fully understood. Indeed, the most
erate climates CIGS modules of type2 appear consistent. Some quantitative dif- stable power rating of the investigated
show a steadily increasing performance ferences observed between hotter loca- modules could be observed for crystal-
over the two years the modules have tions and colder ones hint at a possible line silicon modules.
been observed so far. In the hotter cli- temperature dependence of the observed In order to better understand the phys-
mates, USA and India, the increasing effects. ics and the implications of the phenom-
performance tails off after approximately The widest spread of phenomena is ena observed in the different thin film
oneyear. observed for CIGS modules ranging from materials, TV Rheinland plans to con-
For the CIGS modules of type3 a sub- increasing efficiency, over virtual stabil- duct more detailed combined laboratory/
stantial continuous decrease of PMAX ity, to performance degradations. Also outdoor experiments in the future. S
for three locations (Italy, India, and the for most CIGS samples initial consoli-  Gtz Fischbeck

Storage&Smart Grids

Photo: Nest
which sometimes includes PV generation
monitoring, if the customer owns pan-
els. However, the market will need part-
nerships with more businesses with the
same mind-set of strategic investments in
order to keep up with the deluge of non-
energy companies eyeing up this market.
Despite activity from large energy
retailers (Engie just launched the Quby
platform in Belgium), I have started to
see some negative signs from the energy
industry in the European connected
home market. Here are fourreasons why:

The learning thermostat produced by Google subsidiary Nest. Tech and telecoms companies are moving into the The Nest hype
smart home market, which could limit the market power energy companies have in this area. Googles Nest created big publicity
for the market in its early days. Thisis
clearly over,and companies have to bat-
tle against their senior executives, who

Last chance for argue that Google cant seem to make it

happen, how could anyone else?Instead

energy companies
of investing for the long term, these com-
panies might focus on short-term tacti-
cal moves to secure quick profits which
could be a difficult challenge.

Smart homes: Time is running out for energy companies in the connected home Sales so far
market, as tech giants including Amazon and Apple move to secure the lions share of Most of the sales so far have come from
established energy businesses, like Brit-
this newly developing market. Delta Energy & Environments Arthur Jouannic explains.
ish Gas or Eneco. However, if the mass
market is to happen, it wont only hap-
pen through cross-selling smart thermo-
This winter season might actually be new customers by 2018. But who will cap- stats with boiler maintenance contracts.
the last chance for the European energy ture this growth? Certainly committed Products need to be pushed through mul-
industry to establish itself in the con- companies like British Gas, Bosch, and tiple channels, like e-tailers, DIY retail-
nected home space, and to own part of Eneco think they can, and are investing ers, DIFM (Do It For Me) retailers, etc.
the customer relationship. It is extremely accordingly British Gas has earmarked Few companies if any are success-
likely that this market will soon be GBP 500 million ($620 million) to ful through that many sales channels.
attacked by giant companies such as spend in connected home over the Eneco understood this, and is now sell-
Amazon and Apple, and by large telcos next five years. Eneco also has over ing in retail outlets, where customers
and retailers entering similarly to how O2 300,000customers on the Toon platform, are encouraged to sign energy contracts
and Dixons Carphone have started to do
in the U.K. These companies will own the
Graphic: pv magazine/Harald Schtt

Annual connected Home Energy* past and predicted installations** in Europe

customer relationship if they succeed,
and the energy players will have reduced 2018
Source: Delta Energy & Environment

market power if they try to work with

these companies to play in the market.
With around two million properties 2016
now equipped with either a smart ther-
mostat or connected room controls, it is
clear that energy is the leading vertical 2014
of the European connected home market. * Connected Home Energy sales include smart thermostats,
2013 connected room heating controls, smart plugs,
While this number looks like a promis-
remote diagnostics, HEMs, dynamic tariffs optimisation and
ing start, Amazon has already equipped 2012 other energy related installations
three million houses in the U.S. with ** Each unit on this chart represents one installation.
2011 In some installations includes several devices.
its Echo product, in far less time than
Europes energy numbers. 2010
Based on our country-by-country 1,000,000 1,500,000 2,000,000 2,500,000 3,000,000 2,500,000 3,000,000
analysis, we believe the connected home Number of properties equipped annualy
market will reach nearly four million

68 02/2017 |www.pv-magazine.com
Storage&Smart Grids

with Eneco when buying the product. are equipped with the Solar PV panels However, if the volumes dont start to
For those going through multiple chan- that the company connects to its ecosys- ramp up quickly, it is likely that the oth-
nels, most staff(installers and retail)are tem. These platforms if successful will ers will emerge with disruptive ways to
not actively selling connected home be able to cross-sell solar PV, in which capture the customer relationship. The
products. Euronics (a major electronics case some specialized solar companies energy industry would be left with no
retailer) said at the Smart Home Summit might be left out of the game with no con- sustainable defence and might have to
in Frankfurt, that a few of their salespeo- trol over the customer relationship. kneel in front of the others, or be left out
ple will specialize in smart homes, equip- Up until now, European energy com- of the connected home market.
ping their own properties, so that they panies have been lucky that the big global We will therefore focus our connected
can understand the end-user values, and players are focusing on the U.S. market, home research over the coming months
therefore sell it better. I am convinced and that most telcos havent been aggres- on exploring the strategy and tactics of
this is the way forward for retail but I sive in Europe. It gives the energy indus- some of the others such as European
dont see too many with the same mind- try a chance to establish itself and own the telcos, as well as insurance and security
set across Europe. customer relationship on the energy side companies, to help energy players better
of the connected home. This would be understand the threat coming from this
Other players have the power to hard to replicate, and establish a defend- part of the market. S
disrupt able position for energy companies.  Arthur Jouannic
Amazon has the ability to reach out to
a lot of customers through an entertain-
ment and convenience product, while it
also has the vision that connected homes About the author
will enable the company to increase its Arthur Jouannic is a Senior Analyst at Delta Energy & Environ-
ment. He developed and managed the Delta-ee Connected
core online retail business.
Home Research Service, and is currently focused on Customer
Like in the U.S., retailers and telcos Data Analytics andproduct-related business development.
will attack the connected home market in Arthur holds an M.Sc. in Renewable Energy Engineering anda
Europe with ecosystems of devices work- B.Sc. (Hons) of Mechanical Engineering from Heriot-Watt Uni-
ing together. Vivint announced a million versity in Edinburgh. Visit www.delta-ee.com to find out more.
connected home customers, 10% of which

Storage&Smart Grids

Photos: pv magazine/Jonathan Gifford

A short sojourn around the port city of Fremantle reveals rooftop solar at every turn.

sentiment is reflected in the electricity

Aussies hot for storage retailer churn rate in Australia, in those

states where there is a contestable market,
which is very high.
There is also a belief in some parts of
Distributed storage, Australia: A warm market for batteries is rapidly heating up. the community that not enough is being
The Australian storage market is set to triple in size on the distributed front alone. For done to reduce carbon emissions. By
increasing their independence from grid
utilities it could be a blessing or a curse.
electricity, which is primarily supplied by
old and polluting black and brown coal-
fired power plants, some Australians see
Take a stroll around any suburb in an a base of 500batteries in 2015, last year themselves as taking action into their
Australian city and a stark reality will saw 6,750small storage systems installed, own hands.
reveal itself: Solar is unquestionably worth 52 MWh. With 130,000 rooftop Early adopters are buying storage sys-
mainstream. Australian PV Institute fig- arrays installed in 2016, it means that 5% tems despite high payback periods, says
ures show that the average rate of residen- of all systems were equipped with battery Bloomberg New Energy Finances Head
tial solar penetration, among the coun- storage. Most strikingly, in 2017, SunWiz of Australia, Kobad Bhavnagri. We pos-
trys seven states and territories, stands says that the number of battery systems tulate that purchases may be motivated
at 18.5%. States such as Queensland and installed will expand to around 20,000, by enthusiasm for the technology, a desire
South Australia far exceed this, with or around 15% of new solar installations. to improve resilience, or dissatisfaction
30.4% and 29.5% residential PV penetra- There is a considerable retrofit market with energy providers, and a desire to
tion rates respectively. opportunity for storage in Australia also increase independence from the grid.
The additional piece of good news for in play. SunWiz finds that 70% of house- BNEF calculates that payback periods
Australian solar installers and PV com- holds that already have rooftop solar for solar-plus-storage in most house-
ponent suppliers to the market is that the have plans to add storage to it. holds is well above 10 years. How-
rooftop market segment appears to have The SunWiz forecast is in line with ever, not all market observers agree.
hit an equilibrium point. Green Energy industry analysts IHS Markit, which tips This [payback period] is highly specific
Markets tracking and projections (see around 15,000 to 20,000 to go in this year, to the states and even [varies] within a
chart over the page) indicate that after growing to 30,000 in 2018. By 2020 IHS state because of the difference in retail
some years of instability as state-based expects the annually distributed storage prices, solar feed-in tariffs, and solar irra-
subsidy programs came and went, around market Down Under to be worth between diation conditions, cautions IHS Markit
700MW of rooftop PV will be installed 250MWh and 300MWh annually. Solar Research Manager Cormac Gil-
in Australia annually this year and next. ligan. On average we observe payback
But its storage, not solar, that is making Market drivers time between six and 10 years, but keep-
the biggest waves. Householders in Australia are increas- ing in mind that it can be lower if solar
ingly interested in battery storage for eco- resources are better than average.
Growing market nomic and emotional reasons. Australia There is an additional driver of dis-
The Australian distributed battery stor- has high retail electricity prices by inter- tributed battery storage in Austra-
age market is set to treble this year. The national standards, and with few signs lia: Falling feed-in tariffs are stimulat-
stellar growth is the finding of Austra- of price hikes ceasing, many people are ing the solar+storage retrofit market. A
lian solar consultancy SunWiz, in its looking to significantly reduce their reli- succession of very generous state-based
2017 Battery Market Report, released ear- ance on the grid and send a powerful solar feed-in tariffs in New South Wales,
lier this month. SunWiz notes that from message to their electricity retailer. This South Australia, Western Australia and

70 02/2017 |www.pv-magazine.com
Storage&Smart Grids

Queensland will begin to expire this to a packed house how 90% self-suffi- On the flip side, there are considerable
year and cascade around the country ciency is likely to be achieved by a stan- opportunities for utilities in the rollout of
throughout the decade. These tariffs can dard household in the city with a 7.5kWh distributed storage throughout Austra-
be as high as AU$0.50/kWh (US$0.38), storage system coupled to a 5kWp solar lian grids. Some, such as AGL in Victo-
and as these households are shunted array. With 300days of sunshine enjoyed ria and Synergy in Western Australia, are
off generous FITs and towards what are in Perth annually, Senec says that the looking into ways distributed storage can
wholesale prices paid by utilities for high level of grid independence will be reduce peak demand, delaying or offset-
solar feed-in today, of around AU$0.06 to attractive to consumers. ting grid investments, and provide aux-
AU$0.08/kWh, the value proposition of Most Australian utilities are aware, to iliary grid services to increase stability.
revamping a solar system and adding bat- varying degrees, of the challenge posed It [storage and auxiliary services] has
tery storage looks particularly attractive. by solar-plus-storage, particularly as it huge opportunities because Australian
moves into the mainstream. An increase utilities face similar conditions to Ger-
Supply landscape in fixed charges and further reductions man utilities. Consumption is shrinking;
With this combination of compelling in solar feed-ins have all been mooted by wholesale market revenues are declin-
drivers, there should be little surprise various utilities for some time, with some ing; the regulatory framework is uncer-
that battery suppliers are swarming into considering the moves inevitable. tain; retail prices keep increasing, and
the Australian market. Germanys Senec However, if push comes to shove and churn rates are high. Were seeing a lot
is the most recent arrival (pp. 7273), high levels of self-sufficiency are being of smaller retailers competing with the
and at its launch event last month, it delivered by solar-plus-storage providers, incumbents like AGL or Origin Energy,
announced a deal to supply 2,000units such steps may prove to be the final straw, using solar and energy storage as a way to
in the first half of the year. Silicon Valley- with households opting to go off-grid. gain market share. S Jonathan Gifford
based Enphase is increasingly banking on
the Australian storage market, project-

Graphic: pv magazine/Harald Schtt

Australian solar installs 20102018f
ing sales of more than 70,000 of its small
1.2kWh AC batteries in 2017 alone. 1,200 PV capacity installed (MW) System upgrades
Senec joins a host of others includ- Commercial systems
ing market leaders LG Chem and Tesla, 1,033.3 Residential systems
which themselves are in a price war that 1,000
is set to push storage further still.
During 2016 we monitored prod- 861.6
uct launches and saw prices as low 800 798.0 801.0
as US$400/kWh and as high as 712.9 723.2 719.5 717.0
US$1,700/kWh, says IHS Markits Gilli-
gan. For reference, Teslas Powerwall2 600
should come at $450500/kWh before
installation costs. Looking ahead, IHS
predicts that the battery module in kWh 400 387.4
will be halved between now and 2020,
Source: Green Energy Markets

and similarly balance of plant equipment

are expected to reduce 1015% a year. 200

Utility moves
At its product launch in Perth, Western 0
Australia, last month, Senec company 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018f
representatives from Germany explained

02/2017 |www.pv-magazine.com 71
Storage&Smart Grids

Senecs Head of International Development Sven Albersmeier-Braun.

Photos: pv magazine/Rebecca Mansell

The Australian
market will
be the global
number one
Distributed storage: Things are moving quickly Down
Under. German battery supplier Senec has joined the
list of companies looking to make inroads to the rapidly
growing Australian battery market, and the action is on
the residential front. Senec launched its product in Perth,
Western Australia, in January. pvmagazine was on the
spot and spoke to Senec Australia Managing Director Ian
Parkinson and Head of International Development Sven

pv magazine: What were your impressions from the launch? One of the keys to Senecs growth in Germany has been the
Ian Parkinson (IP): We had grid companies, architects, power innovative operation strategies and options for consum-
management companies, the general public, and friends here to ers such as the Economic Grid and the Vario. What is your
support us. There really was a broad spectrum of people here. understanding of how these models will play out in the Aus-
tralian markets?
Why do you think there is this interest in battery storage sys- SAB: As we see it right now we wont begin an initiative to
tems in Australia at the moment? become a utility in Australia like we are in Germany. The Aus-
Sven Albersmeier-Braun (SAB): I feel that with the power tralian energy market is not as deregulated as European mar-
prices and the way that things are changing at the moment, kets. This makes things difficult and it was difficult enough in
storage has become the most important aspect. This is espe- Germany! So we will partner. This is why we have been engag-
cially true on the east coast of Australia and South Australia. ing, in Western Australia, with the people from Synergy [the
I think that rising power prices are going to drive battery stor- Western Australian state-owned utility] and Western Power
age increasingly into play. [the WA grid operator] so we have all the interfaces they need
to manage their grids.
We have seen the economics of storage remain difficult I strongly believe this is something we can do one particular
for some time. Payback over a 10 year period is not easy buzz word is microgrids.
to achieve, for a residential system, in most parts of the
world. What is your impression of how this will play out in There are climatic challenges, primarily the heat, in Austra-
Australia? lia, and even things like bugs and spiders that can crawl into
SAB: I am really excited about the market. From the outside a storage system that will present a challenge for a German-
it seems to be the best market globally for storage because you made product. How do you see these challenges?
have high electricity prices, time-based tariffs which is exactly IP: Our major challenge is where we can store the battery in
what we need for our storage systems because you can shift your the home. At the moment it is not allowed to locate the battery
electricity to periods when that electricity is really expensive within any of the inhabitable areas. That is going to mean that
and you can even charge your storage system from the grid temperatures will be a concern. But all battery manufacturers
when it is really cheap. will be facing the same problems.
This means that you can benefit from electricity from your solar I see the product that we have as having the capability of pro-
system, which is even cheaper than in Germany because you tecting itself from these temperatures. We will be looking to lift
have 300days of sun in some parts. Because you can cycle your the IP [Ingress Protection] rating. Additionally, the function-
battery twice then you have a much faster payback period than ality of the Senec system far surpasses many others. We are not
when you can cycle your system only once in the day, like you simply introducing a battery, we have an intelligent energy stor-
have in Germany. age system. I am sure we can meet the challenges.

72 02/2017 |www.pv-magazine.com
Storage&Smart Grids

I am a Perth boy myself and I know there are challenges in

connecting with the east coast cities like Sydney, Melbourne
and Brisbane many thousands of kilometers away. What is
your strategy for meeting this challenge?
IP: The benefit of being based in Perth is being able to link with
Germany late in the afternoon for trouble shooting, and being
able to communicate more easily. If there are issues in the east,
we can communicate with head office and get the answer basi-
cally the next morning, to the customer.
We are also setting up with other companies to distribute the
systems and all I can say at this stage is that we are going to
have a really high standard of installation. We are not going to
let just any installer work with the product. You dont buy an Senec Australia Managing Director Ian Parkinson and Director of Operations
expensive car from a second-hand car dealer. In the same way Jason Brooks.
we are going to make sure we use really high quality installers,
to ensure our product is well protected. Timing is always crucial for entrance into markets. Why
The Australian storage market is evolving very quickly at IP: Since the end of October when I first spoke with Sven I have
present. What is your impression about the appetite for resi- been saying, we have to be operational by the first of January.
dential battery storage in Australia at the moment? And we have a great team and really great product, so I am
IP: As Sven said, weve been having conversations with Western delighted that we can bring it in now.
Power and they told us they are getting 15applications a week
for storage connection [in Western Australia]. I expect that to But there is a lot of competition in the market right now,
treble towards the end of summer [Q2] and we are hoping to with some companies like Tesla and LG putting a lot of
capture some of that market. I think people are also a little bit downward pressure on prices.
tired of some of the Chinese products and I think that with a SAB: Competition is extremely important because only with
well-made German product, we are well placed. a lot of competitors can a market really be driven. It is hard to
develop a market alone. It is much easier to have 10 or 20com-
How important do you believe the 90% self-sufficiency fig- panies that also work in this market. The market is huge and
ure, which you believe you can deliver to the standard Aus- there is enough space for even more companies to come to this
tralian household with a 7.5kWh system attached to a PV market.
array, will play as a sales proposition? I am of the opinion that the Australian market will become
IP: In Australia there is a real buzz and everyone wants to get the global number one market for distributed battery storage
away from coal. People are thinking about their children head- within two years. The potential is so high because the density
ing into the future. People are thinking about different ways of solar installation is so high, and the climate is so good for
they can play their part and adopt renewable power, and the solar. S
battery is the most important element. So this is why we have  Interview by Jonathan Gifford
brought the Senec battery to Australia.

Production technology

Manz enters into massive CIGS partnership in China

The German toolmaker will supply 263million ($283 million)

Photo: Manz AG
worth of thin film production equipment to two Chinese com-
panies, as well as turning over its R&D company to a joint ven-
ture. If China has a firm grasp on todays solar manufacturing,
the nations companies are ensuring that in many ways they
will own the future as well. Through the collaboration Manz,
Shanghai Electric, and Shenhua will establish a jointly-owned
R&D company, to which Manz will contribute its current R&D
subsidiary Manz CIGS Technology GmbH. Manz will hold a
15% share of the joint venture, and will be compensated by a
net amount 25million ($27 million).
Additionally, Shanghai Electric and Shenhua have placed orders
for 263million ($283 million) worth of Manzs CIGSfab turn-
key CIGS production lines. Pending approval by the Chinese
government, these orders will show up in revenues in 2017 and
2018. This is the latest cooperation between Manz and Shang-
hai Electric, which entered into an agreement in February to
take a 30% stake in the German toolmaker.

Distributed solar

Berkeley Lab finds negligible potential rate impacts from distributed

The latest report from the respected national lab finds that even lab is examining the overall potential rate impact of distributed
if behind-the-meter solar is raising the rates of other utility solar generation under a variety of valuations, and comparing
customers, the impacts are tiny, especially compared to other this to other rate impacts.
activities. In most cases, the effects of distributed solar on retail electric-
Despite being repeatedly disproved, the myth of cost shift from ity prices are, and will continue to be, quite small compared to
PV system owners remains widely propagated by utilities and many other issues, reads the reports conclusion.
either poorly informed or outright captured politicians and At current national penetration levels, the report finds that
regulators. distributed solar would bring no more than a $0.003per kilo-
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) has taken watt-hour long-run increase in retail utility prices, but that the
another tack with its research. Instead of looking at whether result could also just as well be a decrease of exactly the same
solar is imposing a cost shift onto other customers, the national magnitude.
Photo: Suncommon

74 02/2017 |www.pv-magazine.com

Production technology

Midsummer announce lightweight CIGS modules at 14% efficiency

Photo: Midsummer
Swedish production manufacturer Midsummer has announced Back in May 2016, Midsummer announced that they had
that its client, an Asian module manufacturer, is producing received orders for their DUO flexible substrate CIGS produc-
lightweight flexible modules with CIGS technology with a con- tion tool from the unnamed Asian client.
version efficiency of 14%. I am happy to announce that our solar modules have increased
Japanese Independent research group Chemitox Inc. tested conversion efficiency to 14%. The DUO system is now the most
modules produced on this clients production line, based in widely spread manufacturing tool for flexible CIGS solar cells,
Yamanashi prefecture. The modules tested were produced said Midsummer CEO Sven Lindstrm. Lightweight flexible
under normal conditions with a CIGS layer less than 1micron modules are the future of solar energy, since they can be fitted
thick. on to buildings, vehicles, etc.

On the road with pv magazine

Where were going: PV Expo Japan

March13, Tokyo Big Sight, Japan

provinces under current policies, with
Photo: ??????

curtailment of solar power a problem

nationwide, and the funds to compensate
developers for this reaching their limit.
So, it is through this prism of impending
PV constraint that more than 400exhibi-
tors and 70,000visitors will approach this
years PV Expo in Tokyo. Can the Jap-
anese government implement support-
ive policies that will maintain double-
digit growth in 2017 and beyond? Or is
the projected 8GW market (according
to Mercom Capital) sufficient to main-
tain interest and profit for industry play-
ers? Is this years new building-integrated
photovoltaics (BIPV) section of the show
Much of the talk that dominated the PV the nations total electricity generation in floor a sign of the forthcoming evolu-
Expo event in Tokyo last year focused on quarters three and four respectively. tion of the Japanese solar market? Have
the countrys so-called three year peak, Over the course of 2016, the Ministry of international companies made any fur-
with numerous experts predicting solar Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) ther inroads into this traditionally insu-
installation levels to flatten but remain has calculated that solar met 4.3% of lar market? These questions, and many
close to 10GW per annum until around electricity production last year, up from more, will be asked by pvmagazine dur-
2018, before a slow and steady decline. 2.7% in 2015. However, the challenge of ing the show, so be sure to visit the web-
Data from early in 2017 suggest that last improving upon that figure could prove site for daily updates.
year ended on something of an upturn for steep. PV is thought to be nearing the
solar, with PV representing 5% and 6% of limits of what will be feasible in several www.pvexpo.jp/en/

What weve seen: Qinous ships its new ESS QCompact to Tanzania

German large-scale storage provider Speaking of the Tanzania-bound system,

Qinous has shipped its latest Qinous EES which will be coupled with an existing Photo: Jonathan Gifford/pv magazine

Q Compact system to a village in Tan- PV array, von Bismarck said that it would
zania. Before the system was sent on its enable the village to be largely indepen-
journey, Qinous cofounder and Head of dent of diesel generation as a power
Business Development Busson von Bis- source.
marck invited pv magazine out to its The solar facility in combination with
east-Berlin headquarters late last year to our storage unit offers the ideal solution
inspect the system. for the village to gain more independence
Utilizing Samsung lithium-ion batteries, from expensive, environmentally harm-
the 4.5m2 system boasts a power output ful diesel fuel, said von Bismarck.
of 90kW with 165kWh. By designing the The challenges in designing the compact
system to be housed in an aluminum cab- solution were numerous and included
inet kitted out with high-quality insula- allowing easy access to battery and power
tion material rather than a larger sea electronic components and in ensuring
container, von Bismarck reports that the stable temperatures in the face of extreme
company has been able to reduce sys- heat. The Qinous ESS QCompact can be
tem costs by 30%. It also allows for eas- equipped with a power range of between
ier transport to remote locations, which 30 to 200 kW and up to a capacity of
larger trucks would struggle to reach. 335kWh. www.qinous.de/en/

76 02/2017 |www.pv-magazine.com


Arctech Solar (Shanghai) 5

ASEAN Sustainable Energy Week (UBM) 67

Cybrid technologies Inc. 13

First PV Material Co., Ltd. 57

Fronius International GmbH front cover inside

Ginlong Technologies back cover inside

Green Energy Expo Korea 69

Growatt New Energy Technology Co., Ltd 73

Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd 3

Intersolar Global (Solar Promotion International GmbH) 11

Intersolar Middle East (Solar Promotion International GmbH) 21

Manz AG 25

MIREC Week (Green Thinking Ltd.) 51


Nidec ASI S.p.A. 7

pv magazine USA 45

Schletter 61

SENTECH Instruments GmbH 59

Shanghai HuiTian new material Co.,Ltd. 63

Solar Power Summit Europe Brussels 75

Solarex 77

Stubli Electrical Connectors AG 35

Studer Innotec 53

Studer Innotec 55

Sungrow Power Supply Co., Ltd. 17

TBEA Xi'an Electric Technology Co.,Ltd. 49


Zhejiang JinkoSolar Co., Ltd. back cover outside

78 02/2017 |www.pv-magazine.com
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Preview of issue 03/2017
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Photo: zolakoma/Flickr

Photo: Trina Solar

Photo: Younicos
Turkey update Poly and wafer ranking The storage sweet spot
Turkeys solar sector has been a rare source of The 2017 pv magazine ranking of leading We examine the leading regions for distrib-
positivity recently, but are stringent domes- polysilicon and wafer suppliers, compiled uted storage, as well as the drivers for cost
tic content rules proving troublesome? with the assistance of IHS Markit. reduction and deployment.

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pv magazine was founded by Solarpraxis AG,
Karl-Heinz Remmers in 1996

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